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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The last entry in the second volume of the Venetian Calendar recorded an English prophecy concerning Charles the Eifth. (fn. 1) It was derived from Sanuto's Diaries, which also supply this continuation of the work with more minute details of the Emperor's first visit to England, than can be found in any other narrative hitherto published.
The first volume of the Calendar gave an account of the English adventures of Philip the Handsome and Queen Juana, in 1506, as described in the letters of Vincenzo Querini. The Venetian correspondence preserved by Sanuto acquaints us most accurately with the reception given to their son by Henry VIII. in 1520.
In alluding to this event the chronicler Hall writes, that amongst the personages of the Emperor's retinue “one ladie as chief to be noted was the princes Avinion.” (fn. 2)
From Sanuto we learn that this “princes Avinion” was no other than Princess or Queen of Aragon. Germaine de Eoix (the sister of Gaston) became the wife of Ferdinand the Catholic King of Aragon in 1505, and after his death, though the fact is disputed by Varillas and others, she married John of Brandenburg, the younger brother of Casimir. The marriage took place at Barcelona early in March 1519, and after the death of John of Brandenburg, which occurred in Spain in the summer of 1525, Germaine chose for her third husband the Duke of Calabria.
The marriage Avas consummated at Seville in 1520, as stated by the author of the “Cortigiano,” who remarks, “s' el lotto non sarà motto grande, nè l' vno nè l' altro “arerà freddo.”
When Germaine de Eoix arrived in England she may perhaps have been fat, lame, and ugly, as asserted by Sanuto and Castiglione; but on a variety of accounts she was one of the most remarkable of royal and state personages of the period. Her reception at Canterbury by Mary Tudor, the loss of whose hand had so much irritated the youthful Charles of Burgundy in his 15th year, (fn. 3) will have enabled the two ex-queens to compare notes about the courtship of grandfather and grandson; whilst the young Emperor, calling to mind the changes effected within the last five years, on finding himself in the presence of Mary Tudor, and pondering the preference given by her, first to Louis XII., and then to Charles Brandon, will perhaps no longer have regretted the disappointment experienced by him in 1514.
From Canterbury and Charles V. we pass to the “Field of Cloth of Gold.” The pageants on that occasion are minutely detailed by various Italian eye-witnesses, and a compliment paid by one of them to the temporary palace at Guisnes is especially worthy of notice, as it places the builders of England on a par with Leonardo da Vinci, who died at Eontainebleau in May 1519.
From Mr. Brewer's Calendar (vol. ii. part ii. p. 1443) it appears that in August 1509 one “William Vertu was in the service of Henry VIII.; and from the Camden Society Publications (fn. 4) we learn that Sir Edward Belknap was charged with the construction of the palace at Guisnes, and other buildings at the Field of Cloth of Gold, and that he or his colleague Sir Nicholas Vaux wrote to Cardinal Wolsey requesting that “Vertue the Kinge's “maister mason may be sent over.” So long as our own countrymen alone eulogized the King's house at Guisnes, much might be ascribed to national vanity; but when an Italian declares it worthy of the greatest and most universal artist of the age, it would be desirable to ascertain what degree of credit is due to the Royal Commissioners, Sir Nicholas Vaux, Sir Edward Belknap, and Sir William Sands, and how far they were indebted for their success to the working man, the King's master mason, William Vertue, whom we would fain claim for an Englishman, although the name seems to indicate a French origin.
After the interview of the “Field of Cloth of Gold,” Henry VIII. held his second conference with the Emperor from the 10th to the 14th of July, at Calais, on which occasion a female artist in the service of the King presented the Emperor with his own portrait. She may have been an Englishwoman, as well skilled in painting as Vertue was in architecture. But I am inclined to believe that she was an Italian, named Alice Carmeliano, niece of Henry VIII.'s Latin secretary, a Milanese, (fn. 5) of which province Pietro Carmeliano was a native, and owned allegiance to Ludovic Sforza, Duke of Milan. (fn. 6)
The nephew of Catharine of Aragon was more popular with the English than his rival King Francis; and a remark made by Lord Leonard Grey on the return of the Court confirms the belief that the nobility of England were not brought over to the French interests by their recent intercourse with the chivalry of France. Both nations were jealous and suspicious of each other, as was shown by the new works undertaken at Calais and Ardres immediately after the interview; and in May 1521 the Venetian ambassador writes from Dijon that the Emperor's sole ally was the King of England. At the same period a demonstration was made in London against Luther, briefly described in the Cottonian MS. as the “Pope's “sentence against Martin Luther, published in London “on the 12th May 1521.” The Venetian secretary who was in London at the time gives a much fuller account of the circumstance, adding that on the gates of St. Paul's Cardinal Wolsey then affixed two legatine bulls, above one of which was added in an unknown hand,
“Bulla Bullae ambæ amicullæ.”
The other was headed in like manner with the words,
“Araine[Arachne ?] ante tubam.” (fn. 7)
Wolsey, it appears, was not a little exasperated by these lampoons, and the insinuations conveyed by them. Though the hypothesis may seem startling to some, I am inclined to think that there is in these lines a tacit allusion to the King's early connexion with Anne, Boleyn and to Wolsey's anxiety for the divorce. Be that as it may, Leo X. died on the 1st December 1521, and on the 9th January 1522 Adrian Florent, a native of Utrecht, who assumed the title of Adrian VI., was elected as his successor. If any negotiations had already been in progress with Leo X. with a view of repudiating Catharine, they would now be rendered fruitless. The new Pope had been tutor to Charles of Burgundy, was a virtuous prelate and a staunch imperialist. His conscience and his politics alike forbad him to persecute the kinswoman of his pupil. Adrian died in September 1523, and was succeeded by Clement VII., whose equity and justice, for which contemporaneous biographers give him credit, were often disadvantageously counterbalanced by constitutional cowardice. The union between the Empire and England gave way to apprehensions caused by the victory of Pavia in 1525; and the sack of Home, in 1527, converted these apprehensions into open hostility. At the close of the year, on the release of the Pope from Castle St. Angelo, we have documentary evidence of an official demand for the dissolution of the marriage. (fn. 8) We learn also from the Diaries of Sanuto that in December 1527 there arrived in London the Papal Nuncio Staphileo, of whom the Pope remarked at a later period, that “he it was who “had led the King of England this dance;” the sequel and close of which are too trite and notorious to need further comment. But the historian has yet much to learn concerning the King's matrimonial speculations during the seventeen years which preceded the sack of Borne.
At the commencement of the year following, 1521, in the conferences held beyond the Channel, there were reports of a league set on foot at Borne between Leo X., Henry VIII., and Francis I.; whilst at Worms a Dominican preacher was expatiating on the necessity of opposing Martin Luther, and urging the Emperor to march into Italy. The English envoy Carew assured Francis that the Emperor had no such intention. But a rupture between the two powers was imminent. The proffered mediation of England seems to have been sincere; but every now and then suspicions arose of French intrigues in Scotland; and in Germany reports of the Emperor's Italian expedition continued, although the insurrections in Spain rendered it improbable. In the spring of 1521 the general topics were, the chance of war between Charles and Francis, and the successful attack on the Popedom by Martin Luther. At home, towards the end of March, we find Henry VIII. recommending his kinsman Reginald Pole to the Republic of Venice, as Pole intended to enter himself at the University of Padua; but after the arrest and execution of the young student's uncle, the King: modified his recommendation, and gave the first signs of that jealousy which caused him to persecute Pole until the close of his reign.
The mediation of Henry VIII. for the purpose of preventing war between the Emperor and France, continued, and immediately after the execution of the Duke of Buckingham, of which event we have important details in this volume, Sir Richard Wyngfield arrived at “Worms precisely three clays before the death of the Imperial Prime Minister De Chièvres, who was succeeded by the Imperial Chancellor, the Piedmontese Gattinara. Whilst De Chièvres had favoured the French alliance, Gattinara openly proclaimed his intention of making war on France, and commenced his ministry by seizing on the Milanese and conferring it on Francesco Sforza. Henry VIII. wished to pacify the two rivals; but his ideas of vassalage made him resent the rebellion of Robert de la Marck, who, at the instigation of Francis I., had taken up arms against his liege lord. Such was the assertion made by the English envoy Spinelli. Of his colleague, Sir Richard Wyngfield, Gasparo Contarini has furnished a variety of curious and interesting notices. To the facts already known in connexion with this able negotiator, I am now enabled to add the following particulars on the authority of Contarini. Sir Richard joined Sir Tommaso Spinelli at Worms on the 23rd May 1521; on the following 22nd June he left Brussels and visited England, returning to Brussels in the second week of July. At the close of that month he quitted Ghent to meet Wolsey at Calais; he accompanied the Cardinal to Bruges, and remained with the Emperor until the middle of January 1522. In May 1522 we again find him at the Imperial Court. At Antwerp he was employed in arranging the marriage of the Princess Mary with Charles V., whom he accompanied to England, and on the 24th May 1525, he again presented himself to the Emperor at Toledo, where he died almost immediately after. The speed with which Sir Richard Wyngfield performed his manifold missions, caused the Italians to pun upon his name, which they converted into “Volante” and the heralds of the same period, in allusion to the active services of the three brothers blazoned the heraldic shields of the Wyngfields with three wings, which are still borne by the family, of whom Lord Powerscourt is the present representative.
I have been led to say this much of the partial uses to which the despatches of Gasparo Contarini may be applied, with regard to biographical notices of English worthies. But they are valuable for other reasons. His quick perceptions of individual character were surpassed by the soundness of his views as a statesman and politician. As many of the most important extracts in the present volume illustrating the foreign policy of England are derived from his despatches, some notice of their writer may not be unacceptable.
Gasparo Contarini, born October 16th 1483, was the son of a great trader in the Levant, who married Polissena Malipiero. His father Luigi designed him for a merchant; but perceiving that his son was of a studious disposition he entrusted the education of Gasparo to eminent scholars and professors at Venice, among others to the historian Sabellico, from whom he learnt Latin. Under Antonio Giustinian and Lorenzo Bragadin, Gasparo applied himself to logic. In 1501, at the age of 18, he Avas sent to the university of Padua, where he studied Greek under Musuro, and philosophy under the celebrated Pietro Pomponaccio, whose tenets were opposed by Gasparo Contarini in 1516, in an anonymous work, entitled “De immortalitate animæ.” The Dominican Francesco da Nardo was Contarini's professor of metaphysics. After his education was completed, we find him, in 1519, employed by the Republic as Proveditor in the Polesine, where he acted most ably as a land surveyor. He was subsequently bailiff and captain at Rovigo, and was sent into the territory of Bassano, where he displayed his knowledge of irrigation by constructing a water conduit for that province. Thence he passed to Padua, and his skill in hydraulics was again demonstrated by the dykes which he raised to prevent the inundation of the Adige.
Such were the studies and such the pursuits which prepared the nobility of Venice for diplomacy. On the 24th September the Senate appointed Gasparo ambassador to Charles V. In Flanders he made the acquaintance of Wolsey, of Sir Thomas More, of Pace and the Wyngfields. On the sands at Dover he received his first greeting from Henry VIII. In Spain he again fell in with Sir Richard Wyngfield, of whose death at Toledo he makes mention.
A fortnight after the death of Sir Richard Wyngfield, Gasparo Contarini took leave of the Emperor, and arrived at Venice. During his absence he had been elected sage for the main land, and senator and captain of Brescia, which last post he did not accept. In October 1527 he went as ambassador to the Duke of Perrara, at whose court he met Sir Gregory Casal, who then exhibited the “large commission"(Preface, Vol. I., p. lxxxvi.) lately received at Amiens from Wolsey, and in accordance with which, Gasparo Contarini likewise persuaded the Duke to join the league against the Emperor.
The success of the joint negotiations of Contarini and Casal, and the necessity for keeping them secret, are recorded in the files of the Council of Ten.
At the commencement of 1528 Gasparo Contarini was appointed ambassador to Clement VII. immediately after the Pope's release from St. Angelo, and remained in this capacity at the Papal Court from May 1528 until December 1529. During that period he again met Sir Gregory Casal, and learnt from him many particulars about the divorce of Henry VIII. He also made the acquaintance of Gardyner and Bryan, and renewed that which he had formed in Flanders with Peter Vannes. When the Emperor entered Bologna on the 4th November 1529, Contarini went to meet him, and was most graciously received by his Majesty, who would by no means allow the ambassador to dismount.
On the 31st December 1529, the Republic of Venice accredited Contarini as ambassador to the Emperor for the second time, and on the 8th March 1530, he reported his proceedings from the spring of 1528. In 1530 Gasparo Contarini was sage of the Council, Chief of the Ten, and “Riformatore “or” Superintendent” of the University of Padua. The Republic was at length deprived of his valuable services by Paul III., who in March 1535, made this most able of the Signory's diplomatists a Cardinal of the Church of Rome. On the receipt of the news at Venice Luigi Mocenigo exclaimed, “These priests have robbed us of the best “nobleman in this city.”
In 1536 Cardinal Contarini was appointed Bishop of Belluno; and in 1540 at the suit of Charles V., the Pope sent him as apostolic legate to the diet of Ratisbon. Desirous of reconciling the Catholics and Protestants, the Emperor ordered a book to be published containing the disputed points for discussion by both parties, and the Legate Contarini was appointed to decide the questions contained in one of the many works concerning “The Form of Concord” but this he declined to do, referring the settlement to the Pope or to the general council. Although accused of leaning too much to the opinions of the Reformers and imperilling the Papal authority, he justified himself so completely, that in 1542 Paul III. conferred on him the Legation of Bologna, and on the 7th August in that year he was accredited ambassador to the Emperor. He died the 24th of that month of inflammation, in the monastery outside Bologna, called Santa Maria del Monte. His remains were deposited in the church of St. Procolo, and finally, in December 1565, removed to the church of the Madonna dell' Orto at Venice, where in the Contarini chapel, his bust, by the famous sculptor Vittoria, may yet be seen. The inscription follows:—
S. R. E. CARD.
CVIVS ADMIRANDAM INTEGRITATEM,
DOCTRINAM, AC ELOQVENTIAM, IN
VTRAQ. REP. ET APVD SVMMOS REGES,
GESTA, ET SCRIPTA, TESTANTVR.
BONONIÆ LEGAT. PONTIF.
VIXIT ANNOS LIX.
ALOYSIVS ÆQVES, ET GASP.
EX FRATRE NEPOT.
TANTO VIRO. (fn. 9)
Amongst the many works composed by Gasparo Contarini, was one entitled, “Responsio ad Apologiam Francisci Georgij,” which doubtless confuted Friar Georgio's arguments in favour of the divorce demanded by Henry VIII. The work no longer exists; but like his official despatches, it connects him with England, whilst his familiar letters addressed to Reginald Pole form another link between England and this illustrious Venetian.
To return to my narrative. A fortnight after the appearance of the lampoons at St. Paul's, Henry VIII. and his prime minister received from Charles V. the instrument of compromise, appointing them judges of his disputes with France. In July Francis accepted the mediation of England, and on the 2nd of August Wolsey landed at Calais. The Venetian Ambassador remarks that the English Sovereign was certainly desirous of peace, remembering how much the treasure left him by his father had been diminished by the last war with France; and because England was still agitated by the fall of Buckingham. On the 5th of August Wolsey opened the conference, announcing that he had been sent by his master to make peace between his nephew the Emperor and his brother the King of France. The Papal Nuncio approved of the project, and then followed a long debate between the Chancellors of the Emperor and of King Francis, Gattinara and Duprat. The first sitting was terminated by a proposal from “Wolsey to make a truce, as a preliminary to negotiations for peace; and the conference then adjourned.
Before the arrival of Wolsey at Calais, his intention to hold a personal interview with the Emperor was already known at Ghent, and on the day preceding the first conference, when the Cardinal gave a dinner to the Imperial Commissioners, his bias in favour of their master was evident. On the night of the 2nd August, when the news of Wolsey's arrival at Calais reached Ghent, Charles V. immediately sent congratulations to him on the event by a deputation, the chief member of which, although a Neapolitan, was well acquainted with the foreign policy of England. Giambatista Spinelli, Count of Cariati, had been constantly employed by the Emperor Maximilian both as governor of Verona and also on diplomatic missions (fn. 10) in Italy and Elanders; he had been in communication with Pace, Wyngfield, Sir Thomas Spinelli (the Florentine), and other envoys in the service of England. For these reasons Charles V. made choice of him to compliment Cardinal Wolsey and escort him from Calais to Bruges. But on hearing that the Emperor's general, the Count of Nassau, had taken Bouillon from Bobert de la Marck, Wolsey considering this an infringement of the seven weeks' truce, re-called his baggage-waggons, already on their way to the Imperial Court, and refused to proceed.
Contarini has left us details of his reception by the Emperor not found in Cavendish.
Wolsey was accompanied by the Lucchese Peter Vannes (whom we still find in the diplomatic service of England in the reign of Queen Mary), and by Sir Thomas More; but from neither of them could Contarini elicit any information beyond the assurance that the negotiations had no other object except to effect peace between the Emperor and Francis. By a letter from Wolsey to Henry VIII., (fn. 11) it will be seen in how haughty a manner he treated the King of Denmark, who, as we learn from Contarini, had refused to attend him on his entry. But the English minister's resentment did not proceed solely from personal vanity. Already in 1518, as we know on the authority of Sebastian Giustinian, the Danish King had provoked the Cardinal's resentment by attempting to negotiate a league with France to the detriment of England. So far Wolsey's proud and haughty bearing was patriotic; and that he had a good memory for any disrespect shown to his country was again demonstrated in 1523 when the fugitive King Christian having been hospitably received at Calais, Wolsey gave as a reason that thus had it been done, “more out of regard for his “alliance with the Emperor, than from any kindness he “had ever shown to England.” Finally in June 1521, Wolsey's sense of the national supremacy is recorded by the Imperial Chancellor Gattinara, who said that to effect it, and prevent the Emperor from seeming superior to his King, Wolsey would not scruple to ruin the universe.
In the letter following the one which contains the account of his interview with the King of Denmark at Bruges, Wolsey acquaints Henry VIII. with the arrangements made for the marriage of the Princess Mary to the Emperor, and under that same date, 19th August 1521, Gasparo Contarini makes a shrewd guess at the event in the following passage:—“On the day before, the Emperor” and Wolsey went in great state to the Church of St. James, patron of the order of S. Jago di Compostella, his Imperial Majesty being clad in gold brocade,” a material which Contarini had never seen him wear on the highest holy clays. The mass chaunted on the occasion was that of the Holy Ghost, which caused the Papal Nuncio Caracciolo, who was Contarini's neighbour at the ceremony, to remark upon the fact, and to infer that the Imperialists had already concluded the business,—that the French would be topsyturvy. But as the Emperor appeared more calm and tranquil than he had been of late, his confessor held out hopes of a peace, which he said was zealously sought by Wolsey, whose sketch of the Emperor at this same period represents him as “very wise for his age and well understanding his affairs—right cold and temperate in speech, with assured manner, couching his words right well, and to good purpose when he doth speak.” (fn. 12) The Imperial Chancellor declares that Wolsey expected to find Charles V. a lad in leading-strings, such as he had been under De Chièvres, whose subserviency to France rendered his master contemptible; but Gattinara assured Contarini that for the future there would be neither peace nor truce between the Emperor and the French unless better terms were offered. The Papal Nuncio Caracciolo already foresaw that Henry VIII. would take part with his nephew. As the negotiations were conducted exclusively by the Emperor, the Lady Margaret, Gattinara, and Wolsey, the result of the conference could only he surmised. At length, on the 20th August 1521 the two Papal Nuncios were summoned to attend the conference. Wolsey continued strenuously to advocate peace, but the Emperor told him that Leo X., whom he could not disappoint, was the person who rejected both peace and truce. (fn. 13) The Nuncio Caracciolo resented this remark; nevertheless he ratified it by telling Wolsey that the Pope would not desert his partizans; whilst the Emperor on his part rejected an offer made by the Cardinal in the name of Francis, of a portion of the Venetian territories, and, determining to keep faith with the Pope, he turned a deaf ear to all overtures.
On the. 26th August, Cardinal Wolsey quitted Bruges, having had good opportunity for studying the character of the Emperor, who, though no longer in a state of pupillage, did not dispense with the advice of his council.
Wolsey remained negotiating at Calais until the close of November. Immediately on arriving in England he received news of the death of Leo X,, and thereupon despatched Pace to Home. Simultaneously we hear from Ghent “that the treaty between the Emperor and “the King of England might be considered as settled.” It is probable that Wolsey gave the finishing stroke to it, having been cajoled by promises of Imperial support in his canvass for the Papal tiara; but the nominee of Charles V., from the commencement of the contest, was in reality the Cardinal de' Medici, who, as the prime minister of Leo X., had persuaded the Emperor to attempt the expulsion of the French from Italy. At a later period Charles alluded to these persuasions of the Cardinal, when he had occasion to vituperate him, as Clement VII., for his ingratitude:—
“His Holiness is well aware, how, being a youth, and scarcely knowing what I was about, I entered on this war for him alone: I do not say for Pope Leo, but for him, for he ruled Pope Leo. Nor were the mutual injuries between the King of France and myself of such a nature as to preclude adjustment; but at his instigation I waged the war; and he has had very good proof how far one and the other of us may be trusted.”
The Emperor had then been suffering from ague for many months; but though ill at ease in mind and body his courage did not fail him, and he said a few days later to the Florentine envoy at Madrid:—
“I am expecting bad news both from Milan and Naples; but I care not the least in the world; I shall go into Italy, and thus have a fairer opportunity to obtain my own and take my revenge on those who have wronged me, most especially on that poltroon the Pope. Some day or other Martin Luther will, perhaps, become a man of worth.” (fn. 14)
A fortnight after this ebullition of resentment the expectation of sinister intelligence was dispelled by the victory of Pavia; and two years later the sack of Home requited Charles V. for the ingratitude of Cardinal de' Medici, whose canvass for the Popedom in 1522 had proved no less unsuccessful than that of Cardinal Wolsey.
On the 27th May 1522, Charles V. embarked at Calais for Dover; and from the letters of Gasparo Contarini we have a minute account of all that befell him in England from that day until his departure from Southampton for St. Ander, on the 5th July. The accounts of the English Court, both by Contarini himself and by the Imperial ministers, are frank and unreserved. The Chancellor's bad opinion of Wolsey was confirmed by Pedro Ruiz de la Mota, Bishop of Palencia, who pronounced the Cardinal a marvellous busy-body and detestably arrogant, adding, nevertheless, that his bidding must be done. However unamiable he may have appeared to the Imperialists, the supremacy of the prime minister of England could not be disputed. The rupture with France being formally announced in May by Sir Thomas Cheney, who then took leave of King Francis, Clarencieux proclaimed war at Lyons on the 28th of the same month. On its passage towards Spain in July, the Imperial squadron received news from an advice-boat of the attack on Morlaix and St. Paul de Leon by the Earl of Surrey and Sir Richard Wyngfield, who seems to have combined the soldier with the diplomatist.
From St. Ander to Aguilar, the Venetian and the Pied-montese, Contarini and Gattinara, travelled together, and the Imperial Chancellor, discussing English politics, expressed his belief that King Henry would persevere in the war with France, for the sake of making himself master of Scotland, and obtaining possession of his sister Margaret and her son. He taxed Wolsey with irreligion and rapacity, of which last defect he quoted the following instance. Whilst the alliance with the Emperor was in course of negotiation, Wolsey, he said, did not scruple to demand of the Emperor for himself and some other personages of the English Court, an annual pension of 22,000 ducats, saying that such was the amount hitherto received by them from France, and the Emperor promised compliance with this demand. Gattinara also said that Wolsey's offers to settle the disputes between the Emperor and the Signory proceeded solely from a desire to obtain some pecuniary acknowledgment. In conclusion, to win the good graces of his Venetian companion, he vituperated the embargo laid on the Flanders galleys, vowing that the Emperor would never have acted so unfairly; and he expressed a suspicion that were any pretext afforded, the property of the Venetian merchants in England, and the galleys also, would be seized. Although the Imperial Chancellor did not think highly of Wolsey, the alliance with England continued, nor do we hear anything of the divorce, either from Rome or Spain, although in November 1522 Sir Thomas Boleyn arrived as ambassador at Valladolid, together with Richard Sampson, and strongly urged the prosecution of the war with France.
On the 3rd August 1523, a league and confederacy for the defence of Italy were agreed upon between Adrian VI. the Emperor, the King of England, the Signory of Venice, the Archduke of Austria, the Duke of Milan, the Cardinal de' Medici, the Florentines, and the community of Genoa. On the following 24th September the Pope died, and was succeeded by Cardinal de' Medici, who assumed the title of Clement VII. The French immediately appeared under Milan, but recrossed the Alps in the spring of 1524, returning in the autumn, under the command of Francis, who took up his quarters in Milan and immediately commenced the siege of Pavia, where he was captured by the Imperialists on the 24th February 1525. From the accession of Clement VII. until that event, the Emperor had ceased to place any faith in his allies, but he did not as yet seek to annul his betrothal to the Princess Mary, although two months before the tide turned in his favour he was much amused at hearing her compared to an “owl” by the famous papal diplomatist Nicholas Schomberg, Archbishop of Capua. Whilst the Archbishop was negotiating for Clement VII. at Madrid in December 1524, he strongly urged the Emperor to prefer the Princess of Portugal to Mary Tudor, who he said would never marry his Majesty, neither would she find a husband in France, as although Henry might desire the connexion, the English would hare a King of their own. In time of war, he continued, they made the same use of their Princess as they did of an “owl,” as a decoy for alluring the smaller birds. The Emperor not understanding the simile, asked the Archbishop what he meant by the “owl,” and when the parallel was explained to him, he laughed heartily, nor did he seem to disapprove of the hint thus jocosely given.
The betrothal of Mary Tudor was considered valid until after the unexpected victory of Pavia, the news of which reached Madrid on the 10th March 1525. One of the first foreign ministers who presented himself at the Old Alcazar of the Moors, (fn. 15) to offer congratulations on this event, was Gasparo Contarini. He found the Emperor pacing a gallery and conversing with the Chancellor Gattinara, Mons. de Bresse, and Mons. de la Chau. Seven or eight times the Emperor passed from one end of the corridor to the other, discoursing the whole time. At length, on approaching a window, he called Contarini to him, and received his congratulations most graciously, saying, amongst other things, that he owed the victory to God alone, who, knowing his good will, had rewarded him far beyond his deserts. The Emperor chose it at once to be distinctly understood that he owed nothing to his allies. (fn. 16)
On the day after receiving the news from Pavia, Charles V., clad in a black frieze cape and jerkin, without any mark of rejoicing, attended high mass, and listened to a sermon, the text of which was:—
“Laudanum nomen Dei vestri quia fecit nobiscum mirabilia.”
The Chancellor Gattinara did not conceal his ill opinion of the assistance received from Henry VIII., and said openly in the presence of the Nuncio Castiglione, Contarini, and others, that he knew not what the English would do, or what inclination they might have to make war on a prostrate foe. To the Genoese alone the Emperor expressed some obligation. In reply to the congratulations of their ambassador, he said that he understood how once upon a time they had wished to give themselves to old King: Lewis of France, who declined the offer, saying he gave them to the Devil, because they were so changeable. The Emperor added ironically, “and in like manner at this “present, I can say that, if not by Genoa, I have “been well served by the whole of Italy,” implying that with the exception of Genoa all the Italian powers had betrayed him. Even this solitary exception was accidental. Antoniotto Adorno had no greater scruples about changing sides than the rest of his countrymen, as we learn from Contarini's letter of 5th March 1525. To the Papal Nuncio Castiglione, who apologized by saying that he was not aware of the Pope's negotiations with France until he got to Lyons, and that many unjust accusations were made against his Holiness, the Emperor made answer, first, that before Castiglione's departure from Rome he knew the Pope was well inclined towards him, but that subsequently he changed; and, secondly, with regard to false accusations against his Holiness, God had made him (the Emperor) king of men, and not king of tongues.
Immediately after the battle of Pavia we hear of a mission to Portugal. The Emperor's marriage with the King's sister was already anticipated. When Contarini asked Gattinara what compensation the Emperor would demand of France for the King of England, the Chancellor replied: “Verily, the Emperor will take small heed “for King Henry.”
Francis assured the Emperor that had the victory of Pavia been delayed ten days, England would have declared in his favour, and he offered to exhibit letters to that effect from Henry, who still claimed a large portion of the captive monarch's territories as his share of the spoil. Early in June, Tunstall and Wyngfield are said to have offered the Emperor a sum of money on account of Mary Tudor's dower, and for the consignment of Bayonne; but the Cortes urged him to marry Isabella of Portugal. Later in the month Gattinara professed to believe that the Princess of England was destined for her cousin the King of Scotland, and on the 4th July it was reported that the Emperor's envoy Peñalosa brought a refusal from Henry VIII. either to send her to Spain or release the Emperor from his obligations; whilst on the other hand the Imperial Court at Toledo declared that the Emperors marriage to the Portuguese Princess was already settled.
Although an open rupture was for some time delayed, the family compact between Charles V. and Henry VIII. was at an end, and Gasparo Contarini in his report of the Emperor's court made to the Venetian Senate on the 16th November 1525, expresses himself on the subject thus:—
“He (the Emperor) also bears ill-will to the King of England, and I wrote to your Serenity many months ago that discord between them had commenced showing itself; and now that at this present peace has been concluded between the kingdom of France and the King of England without the Emperor's intervention, I believe him to be extremely dissatisfied.” (fn. 17)
It is, therefore, not improbable that at this period Clement VII. may have been sounded concerning the divorce. Sampson, Tunstall and Wyngfield were succeeded at the Imperial Court by Lee and Ghinucci, who found themselves there at the time of the sack of Home. But as this volume comes down no further than the month of December 1526, the treatment received by Ghinucci and his colleague, after Clarencieux proclaimed war on the Emperor, needs no comment at present. Suffice it to say that the conferences between Charles V. and his uncle at Calais and in England were as unproductive of lasting friendship, as those held on the Field of Cloth of Gold by Henry VIII. and Francis I.
In my Preface to Vol. II. of the Venetian Calendar, p. lxi., I alluded to the successor of the late Count Dandolo, as director of the Venetian archives, stating how much might be expected from him, and I observed as an apology for my appendices, how impossible it was to discover every document in time to be inserted in its exact chronological order (Vol. II., pp. xlvi., xlvii.).
I have now the satisfaction of announcing the realization of my expectations. Amongst his many other researches Cav. Tommaso Gar directed his attention to certain bundles of unclassed documents, part of which were evidently a parcel of the spoil obtained at the sack of Rome, as already noticed by me (Vol. II., Preface, p. liii.); another part consisted of a miscellaneous correspondence addressed chiefly to the Council of Ten; and a third had been originally placed in the Archives of the Board of Trade, and was probably mislaid with the rest in 1797.
The earliest of the supplementary documents thus liberally communicated to me by Cav. T. Gar, concerning Great Britain and the Papal Court, is dated from St. Mark's, Home; the palace which still bears that name having been built by the Venetian Pope Paul II. in 1564. Pius IV. made a present of it to the Republic of Venice, and it is now the residence of the Austrian Embassy. The document in question is an original draft on paper, presented to Paul II. in his new abode by the Datary for his Holiness's approval. A transcript on parchment was forwarded as usual to James III. King of Scotland, on the 23rd January 1466. It relates to the appointment of Patrick Graham to the bishopric of St. Andrew's. The new bishop in 1470 had sufficient influence to have his see erected into an archbishopric, and became Papal Legate in Scotland, an office which caused him so much vexation that he died at Lochleven Castle of a broken heart in 1478.
The next drafts authenticated by the same Pope bear the date of St. Peter's, 28th January 1471, and relate to the Prothonotary James Goldwell. They are addressed to the Duke of Clarence, to Thomas Pourchier, Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury, to George Nevill, Archbishop of York, and to his brother Richard, Earl of Warwick, “the king-maker,” who had replaced Henry VI. on the throne three months before the date of these documents. It appears, therefore, that Paul II. immediately acknowledged the change of dynasty effected in October 1470, and which ended with the death of Warwick at Barnet field on the 14th April 1471. In the following month of August (as will be seen in the first volume of the Venetian Calendar) Edward IV. appointed Goldwell his ambassador to Rome, and from the contents of the Papal breves, written in January of that year, it may be inferred that the Prothonotary had the support of the Duke of Clarence, whose reconciliation with Edward took place early in 1471. Goldwell must have been an able diplomatist, as he found favour both with Lancastrians and Yorkists.
From Pope Sixtus IV. there is the draft of a breve dated 28th September 1173, and addressed to Edward IV. It relates to the deanery of Salisbury. In 1484 the same Pope, by birth a Genoese, complains to Richard III. of certain grievances to which the merchants of Genoa were subjected in England, very much to the regret of his Holiness, who alludes to the expectations entertained of the King's virtue (virtutis) and of his just administration. In 1485 another Genoese Pope (Innocent VIII.) wrote to King Richard, complaining that his fellow-countryman Ambrogio de' Negroni had been defrauded of 3,816 ducats by Walter Fitzsimons, Archbishop of Dublin.
Besides the drafts of Papal missives destined for England, and taken from the spoils of the Vatican, we have original letters on parchment from John Morton Archbishop of Canterbury, to Pope Innocent VIII., in reply to his recommendation of Sir John Kendal, showing that Kendal, who, as seen in the first volume of the Venetian Calendar, enjoyed great favour with Richard III., had given offence to Henry VII., by assuming the title of Prior of St. John's without the consent of the King. They were, however, subsequently reconciled. The abilities of this skilful negotiator are noticed by Lord Bacon in his life of Henry VII.
Cav. Gar, who has with great skill and judgment ordered a classification to be made of 170 bundles of letters, addressed to the Council of Ten by the Republic's agents in all parts of the world, has amongst other documents brought to light several bearing the date of London. The earliest of these was written on the 31st March 1515, by the ambassador Andrea Badoer, and contains a passage in cipher, deciphered for the Ten at the time of its receipt. In substance it is as follows:—
“It is certain that the late Queen of France has married the Duke of Suffolk, who, less than two years ago, was another person's servant. (fn. 18) Being in favour with the King, he, with some others, on the demise of the King of France, was sent thither as ambassador, and as now witnessed, he performed the embassy for himself. It is supposed that in secret the King gave his consent. God grant that the marriage be not ill-omened. The whole kingdom clamours, and cannot bear it, and not only England but France likewise. So, owing to this uproar, orders were given in the event of their quitting France, that as the lesser evil, they should go to Calais and not to London, for I certainly think they would be ill received, as I perceive very great confusion, and most especially between the lords and the people (i signori et popoli) who, on the day before yesterday in Parliament, well nigh punched their heads (che poco manco non se habi dà sopra la testa), and were told that the marriage did not take place by consent of any of the lords (signori) with the exception of the Archbishop of York, who has sprung up like a mushroom, and if he escapes this[attack ?] he will have performed no small feat.”
The despatches of Sebastian Giustinian show that the marriage was not liked, and we now learn that this aristocratic feeling was shared by the people. The invasion of the House of Lords by the mob, in demonstration of this ill-feeling, has not been recorded by any historian, nor until the appearance of Mr. Brewer's Calendar was it generally known that Wolsey favoured the match.
The “popular movement” in Parliament took place on the 29th March 1515. In July 1516, Suffolk absented himself from the Court because the King, at the suggestion of Wolsey, refused to pay a debt contracted by his brother-in-law in France. By the Venetian Calendar (fn. 19) we learn that in May 1517, Suffolk was again paying the most obsequious court to Wolsey, on whom he waited like a dependent.
The same letter from Badoer to the Ten reminds us also of the claims of England upon Cyprus. In February 1515, Julian de' Medici married Philiberta of Savoy, in right of whom he proposed wresting that island from the Venetians. When the project was communicated to Henry VIII. he declared, at the suggestion of Badoer, that if the Venetians were expelled from Cyprus, he should claim the island for himself as the heir of Richard Coeur de Lion, forgetting, or perhaps never having known, that the Lion-hearted King sold the island for 100,000 bezants to Gui de Lusignan.
Amongst papers of another class and of a later period than those calendared in the present volume, some relate to the Board of Trade, and as they bear upon a recent question of maritime insurance, I have obtained a special permission from the Master of the Rolls to allude to them here.
By my friend Mr. Manley Hopkins, to whose “Manual of Marine Insurance” (which followed his “Handbook of Average”) allusion was made in my last Preface (p. 1.), I was informed that—
“In 1867 one of the tea ships from China, contrary, it is alleged, to custom, had a tier or layer of wine in casks at the bottom of her hold, and had to jettison a considerable quantity of tea to lighten the vessel, and preserve all the contents. On discharging her cargo it was observed that all the teas had acquired a vinous or alcoholic smell and flavour, by which they became depreciated about 25 per cent. of their full Value. The underwriters affirm that they are not liable for this depreciation; first, in accordance with the Tea Clause, (fn. 20) because the tea was not actually in contact with sea water; and, secondly, because they allege that it was contrary to custom to stow any wine in a tea ship.”
This circumstance caused much dispute between the underwriters in London and the merchants whose teas they insured.
The papers from the archives of the Venetian Board of Trade, lately communicated to me by Cav. Gar, as already stated, show that in March 1588, 100 bags of currants were shipped at Venice for London, where the merchant for whom they were destined refused to receive them, because they had been damaged by the leakage of wines. The case was referred for arbitration to two grocers, viz., John Hyde (an ancestor of Lord Chancellor Clarendon) and Richard Aldworth, who rated the loss on each bag at 40s. Hereupon the purser took the currants for account of his master, the shipowner, paying the original consignee their “prime cost.” This arrangement did not meet the approbation of the shipowner, and at length, in October or November 1590, the Chancellor, Sir Christopher Hatton, converted into a statute of the realm the award made by Hyde and Aldworth. By a decree in Chancery it was ordered that the shipowner in Venice should ratify it before the 15th June 1591. The currants had been insured at a premium of 15 per cent., but none of the parties throughout the proceedings ever attempted to hold the insurers responsible for average; and as in all matters relating to maritime insurance, Venetian custom may be considered law, it appears to me that the wine and currant case of 1588 might facilitate a decision in the wine and tea case of 1867.
I have also been favoured by Cav. Gar with a further supply of documents concerning England, one of which contradicts an assertion made by Sanuto, and printed by me at p. 191, No. 374, of the present volume.
Sanuto states that Cardinal Adrian, Bishop of Bath and Wells, was never heard of after his departure from Venice in December 1521, and it was generally supposed that he had been murdered on his journey thence towards Rome. We now find by a letter which the Council of Ten received in May 1523, that Cardinal Adrian was still alive, and was urging his namesake, Pope Adrian VI., to restore him to his dignity and his benefices.
In St. Mark's Church, fronting the Chapel of the Cross, there yet stand two exquisite bronze candelabra, wrought by Maphio Oliviero of Brescia, with an inscription purporting that they were presented to that chapel by Altobello Averoldi, Bishop of Pola, who during many years filled the post of Papal Legate in Venice. In 1523, Averoldi was Governor of Bologna for Pope Adrian VI., and being by birth a Venetian subject, he kept up a correspondence with the Ten, part of which is in cipher, but with a contemporaneous translation.
In one of these letters, dated Bologna, 10th May 1523, Averoldi announced the arrival there of a messenger from England and France, by whom he was informed that Henry and Wolsey would on no account consent to the re-instatement of Cardinal Adrian. The messenger considered it certain that Adrian's restoration would never he permitted. Moreover he told Averoldi that he had been informed by the great Lombard statesman, Hironimo Morone, that there was a person at Milan who could interpret any cipher however difficult. It is probable that the fame of Zuan Soro (alluded to in Vol. II. of the Venetian Calendar, Preface, p. lxxii.), did not suffer from so vague an assertion. An astute guess at the meaning of one or two signs would hardly suffice for the complete interpretation of an alphabet composed in cipher throughout, and used by such adepts in the art as the Venetian secretaries of the 16th century.
Italian intelligence was appreciated and well rewarded by Henry VII. Adrian de Castello obtained from that King first the see of Hereford, and then that of Bath and Wells; and John and Silvester de Giglis, the uncle and nephew, were rewarded in immediate succession with the bishopric of “Worcester. Pietro Carmeliano was the King's Latin secretary, and it has been already seen (Venetian Calendar, vol. i.), that if he was useful to the English monarch, he also aided the Republic of Venice at the time of the League of Cambrai. A letter now brought to light by Cav. Gar, convinces me that some years before Julius II. levelled that blow at the Republic, Carmeliano had done his best to dissuade Henry VII. from encouraging the Pope in his attack. Although unsigned, the letter is evidently from the Latin secretary, dated London, 8th March 1504. It is addressed to the Venetian ex-consul there, by whom it was forwarded to the Council of Ten. Cardinal Adrian (then secretary to Pope Julius), although the Venetians had helped him to obtain the red hat in 1503, (fn. 21) was in the following year advocating the Papal attack on Venice,—an act of apparent ingratitude, which may perhaps be attributed to official duty as paramount to private sentiment. Be this as it may, Carmeliano declares that early in 1504 Cardinal Grisogono (such was Adrian's title) and Cardinal Sta. Croce (Bernardo Caravaial, a Spaniard) wrote to Henry VII. in the Pope's name, requesting his aid against the Signory, for the recovery of Rimini and Faenza. In reply to these letters, which reached London in the middle of February 1504, Carmeliano took no notice of the two cities in the Romagna, and upon the King inquiring the reason of this omission, the Secretary replied that if he had said a word to the Cardinals, they would instantly have shown it to the Pope, who would have claimed it as a promise, and that it was inopportune for his Majesty to embark in the labyrinth of Italian politics. He added that the King had. a good excuse for declining, as the dispute was one of temporal jurisdiction (contese del mondo). Carmeliano states that the King approved of his opinion, nor was any reply given, “as everything passes through his (Carmeliano's) hands.” Carmeliano then adds, that the Consul Giustinian had communicated to him letters from the Signory on the same subject, apparently combining a request for letters of recommendation from the King to the Pope. This, Carmeliano says, could by no means be conceded, “as his Majesty “has many important matters to arrange with his “Holiness.”
The letter from the Signory to the consul Nicolò Giustinian may be read in Vol. I. Venetian Calendar (No. 837), confirming the authenticity of Carmeliano's information.
Allusion has been made by me (fn. 22) to the death at Padua of Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, and to a suspicion that his death was caused by poison. This suspicion was shared by Bernardo Giorgio, who assumed the office of Podesta of Padua a month after Courtenay's death, and wrote his epitaph, published by Scardeon in 1560. (fn. 23)
“Anglia quern genuit, fueratque habitura patronum
CORTONEVM, celsa hæc continet arca ducem,
Credita causa necis regni affectata cupido,
Reginæ optatum tunc quoque connubium:
Cui regni proceres non consensere
Philippo Reginam regi iungere posse rati.
Europam unde fuit inveni peregrare necesse,
Ex quo mors misero contigit ante diem.
Anglia si plorat defuncto principe tanto,
Nil mirum, domino deficit illa pio.
Sed jam CORTONEVS coelo fruiturque beatis,
Cum doleant Angli, cum sine fine gemant.
Cortonei probitas igitur, præstantia, nomen,
Bum stabit templum hoc, vivida semper erunt.
Anglia hincque etiam stabit, stabuntque Britanni:
Coniugij optati fama perennis erit.
Improba naturae leges Libitina rescindens,
Ex aequo iu venes praecipitatque senes. (fn. 24)
The “Podestà” had doubtless proofs of the crime, which, as seen in the late Mr. Turnbull's Calendar (p. 260), was rumoured immediately after the death of Courtenay, on the 18th of September 1556. The ambassador then resident with the Republic of Venice, on behalf of Queen Mary, was a Lucchese, by name Peter Vannes, the same who in August 1521, as mentioned in the present volume, was secretary to Cardinal Wolsey at Bruges. It was doubtless supposed that Vannes must have been privy to the act, and although not an Englishman, the national character suffered from the suspicion, despite his demand “for any open trial and assured declaration of the truth, “in forma autentica, to which he was moved for the” Queen's honour, that by silent murmurs was by wicked “persons and ignorant people unworthily and much” blotted,—ignorant people who do not consider that of a “godly woman can nothing proceed but godly acts,” (fn. 25)
An official memorandum communicated to me in December 1868 by Cav. Gar, warrants a belief that neither Queen Mary nor Vannes were concerned in Courtenay's death, and that it was more probably compassed by the the Spanish minister Ruy Gomez.
A despatch written from Richmond on the 31st August 1555, by the Venetian ambassador Giovanni Michiel, shows that Ruy Gomez had then quitted England, and that Philip would not leave for Brussels until Gomez returned.
Michiel had previously given various notices of Courtenay, some of which, in cipher, have been recently deciphered by the Signor Luigi Pasini, of whose labours in this matter I consider it only just to give the following account. In the autumn of 1865, when Mr. T. Duffus Hardy inspected the Venetian Archives and Public Libraries, he perceived the importance of the despatches written by Giovanni Michiel, and suggested to her Majesty's Government that the ciphered part of them should be photographed at once, so that whatever political or domestic accidents might occur, some of the most curious materials for the continuation of the Venetian Calendar should at any rate he found in our Public Record Office. Mr. Hardy's foresight was justified in July 1866, by the removal to Vienna of various Venetian State Papers, the greater part of which, however, were restored to these archives in October 1868 together with many other records, the seizure of which dated from the year 1797.
As the Venetian Calendar has only now reached the close of 1526, the public service did not require the immediate deciphering of the ciphered part of the Michiel correspondence, commencing with the 12th March 1555, and therefore Signor Luigi Pasini (who, in consequence of Mr. Hardy's visit to Venice, immediately determined to construct a key for the discovery of these ciphers), did not feel it necessary to hasten the performance of his selfimposed task. He however completed it in January 1869, and in the following month he presented to the Record Office his complete cipher alphahet, which enahles me (with his permission) to give additional particulars of undoubted authenticity concerning Edward Courtenay. Cavalier Gar has tested this key, and found it satisfactory. (fn. 26)
On the 8th April 1555 Michiel wrote from London, but not in cipher, that the Earl of Devonshire had at length obtained his release, and on that day was to kiss their Majesties' hands. His departure from England is announced to the Signory on the 29th April in cipher, thus deciphered by Luigi Pasini:—
“The Earl of Dansier (sic), either of his own choice, or by the suggestion and advice of others—or rather by command—is to depart hence today or tomorrow, with all his followers, to cross the sea; and he will go to Brussels to kiss the Emperor's hand—to thank his Majesty for the boon obtained by the most Serene King— the principal author of his release—and to reside awhile at that court; not merely for the purpose, as he says, of learning its fashion and ways, knowing himself devoid of any experience, having, it may be said, grown up and been educated until now in. prison, but also to be present and see the war, which—should the agreement not take place—will it is feared be waged on those frontiers[of Flanders and France ?]; intending after some time to betake himself to Italy; mitigating (as many persons declare) by this fair pretext the boundary assigned him, and the commutation of his prison; although a person in his confidence has told me that the most illustrious the Chancellor (Stephen Gardyner) has told him, in the name of the most Serene Queen, that going away, he may always return at his pleasure, it sufficing that he shall not find himself here on this occasion at the time of the delivery.” (fn. 27)
Cipher deciphered by Luigi Pasini.
The Earl of Devonshire carried out his intention of seeing Italy, and on the 15th of January 1556 was at Venice on a visit to Vannes, and three weeks previously a communication had been made to the Council of Ten, by a Dalmatian soldier, the substance of which, as recorded in the above-mentioned minute, is as follows:—
On the 24th December 1555, Marco of Risano having appeared before the Chiefs of the Ten, was addressed thus,—
“You told the Procurator Carlo Morosini that you know of an order given for the murder in this city of Courtenay, who is coming hither from England. Narrate what you know concerning this matter.”
To this interrogatory Marco of Risano replied,—
“On the 28th of August (1555), Ruy Gomez quitted England for Flanders, and before his departure he arranged for me to speak with him. I went to his house, and found him in a great hurry on the eve of setting out, so that I was no longer able to speak to him. He said to me, (fn. 28) Captain, thou art to cross over to Flanders; thou wilt come and meet me there.' I crossed on our Lady's Eve in September, and went to Brussels, where I found the said Don Ruy Gomez; and having been with him several times he made me return repeatedly. At length on the 18th October, when about to proceed on my journey, I went to see him, and he said to me, 'Captain, I have heard of your renown, that you are a brave and honest man, and can do a service which will be very agreeable to me. If thou wilt perform this service I will give thee a thousand crowns, and obtain for thee the favour of the King, who will cause thee to obtain more than thou hast had from the Emperor. There is going to Venice a certain individual, named Courtenay, who expects to be King of England. On my sending to thee a person of mine, according to description, you will be able to discover his abode, and perform the service in his company, as he will have other companions, and you being acquainted with the place, will be able to find boats and the ferries for their escape, so that they may not be seized; they are good men and true, and carry two harquebuses, each with three balls; when they shall have done the deed, assist them, and accompany them into Puglia, when thou shalt see what I will do for thee.' I answered him that on the opportunity's presenting itself I would act willingly; answering thus for my own benefit, but God forbid that I should kill any one for money, were they to give me Naples; and so as I speak the truth so may God help me, nor as yet has anything more come of it.”
The statement of the Dalmatian bravo bears the stamp of truth; and we may therefore suppose that the demand of Vannes, for an open trial, to vindicate the Queen's honour was made without guile. A gross violation of the law of nations was to be perpetrated to the detriment of Venice; and my belief is that of this, as of many other sanguinary acts unjustly attributed to Mary, the Queen and the English Ambassador were alike ignorant. The crime was exclusively Spanish, and was designed and executed by Ruy Gomez.
In the church of St. Antonio, at Padua, there still exists the following inscription:—
But Courtenay's remains are no longer in the chapel of the Crocifisso, where it may be read; nor is it known when or whither they were removed.
It is said that his tomb at St. Antonio's, being a temporary one, bore no epitaph, so that the one composed by Bernardo Georgio exists in print only, and not in marble.
In the first volume of the Venetian Calendar, No. 823, the death of Arthur, Prince of Wales, is recorded; and now amongst the miscellaneous documents above-mentioned is an original draft without any date, though evidently written at the close of the 15th or beginning of the 16th century, condoling with the King of England on the death of his son in the name of the Doge (Loredano) and the Senate. The draft is in Latin, and styles the deceased heir apparent “a rare model” (specimen singulare), worthy to succeed his father, who is reminded of the “orthodox maxim of the Christian religion that” the Almighty of his wisdom calls to himself those whom “he loves.” The Doge expresses his belief that the saying was specially applicable to the King's son by reason of his admirable qualities.
Another document brought to light at the same time as the foregoing, illustrates a feature in Venetian diplomacy, to which I have not hitherto alluded.
The Republic's agents at foreign courts were commanded to correspond with their fellow envoys wheresoever accredited, and the earliest specimen of such news-letters written from England is the one calendared in the Appendix to this present volume, written by the Ambassador Andrea Badoer to Pietro Lando, his colleague resident at the Court of Leo X. It is dated 14th June 1514, and records the presence in London of the Apostolic Nuncio, the Bishop of Civita di Chieti, of whom there are several notices in Mr. Brewer's Calendar. It may be inferred from these notices that the future Pope resided in England from the close of 1513 until the spring of 1516, when Leo X. accredited him to the young King of Spain, who was then in Elanders.
In the lives of the Popes, Panvinio alludes to the fact of Caraffa's having been sent Nuncio to England by Leo X. “to exact the Papal revenues,” but he does not give any clue to the date of his residence there. Amongst the letters relating to the Bishop of Chieti, calendared by Mr. Brewer, is one from Polydore Vergil, sub-collector of the Papal dues, dated 15th March 1515. Vergil alludes to the “mole” (talpa) at Rome, and to the “Gladiator” (Harenarius) in England. The former seems to have been one of the ministers of Leo X., and the latter was probably Andrew Ammonius, the King's Latin Secretary, whose appointment as sub-collector in lieu of Polydore Vergil, is dated at Home, 26th March 1515. The Nuncio Caraffa will of course have been concerned in this transaction; but his negotiations in England had chiefly the peace of Europe for their object. (fn. 29) Paul IV lived to a great age, and amongst the Venetian despatches from his Court, now in my possession, is one, showing that on Wednesday, the 4th December 1555, he held a consistory, at which Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, was deprived of his see, permission being given for his consignment to the secular tribunals.
The letters calendared by Mr. Brewer, showing the protection given to Erasmus by the Bishop of Chieti, prove that at the period of his nunciature in England, he was neither bigoted nor intolerant.
From Giovanni Pietro Caraffa, Badoer proceeds to speak of Thomas Bohier, General of Normandy, who, under pretence of negotiating the ransom of the Duke of Longueville, offered terms of peace in the name of Louis XII.
The same letter shows that Lando had also used his good offices at Home to bring about an adjustment between the two Crowns. Amongst other news Badoer tells his correspondent that the French King had acquainted the Dauphin Francis with his intention to marry, his Queen Anne of Britanny having died at the commencement of the year, adding that it was as yet undecided whether he would select the Archduchess Margaret, Duchess Dowager of Savoy, or one of the sisters of the Archduke of Burgundy, or the Queen Dowager of Scotland, or finally Mary Tudor, for whose marriage the treaty was signed at Blois, on the 7th August 1514. (fn. 30) The only novelty in this announcement is the mention of the Spanish Infanta, to whom it is not generally known that Lewis XII. had ever purposed offering his hand. At the close of the letter Badoer speaks of the recent arrival in London of Lodovico Canossa, whose conversation with Erasmus, during his brief stay there, is detailed in a letter to Germano Brixio. (fn. 31)
It does not appear that copies of the letters exchanged between the Republic's agents at foreign Courts were transmitted to the Signory. But there exist at Vienna authentic transcripts of “advices” or “news-letters,” compiled in. the Ducal Chancery at Venice, addressed to the Signory's envoys abroad, that they might be communicated to the crowned heads and ministers, with whom they held daily intercourse. These advices were doubtlessly garbled, but not to the extent of falsifying the facts.
These news-letters have not been noticed by me because they no longer exist at Venice; but it is to be hoped through the zealous exertions of the Chev. Gar, and the good faith of the Austrian Government, that their restitution may be expected from Vienna. The “advices” from 1537 to 1572 will prove an authentic continuation of Sanuto's Diaries, which close at the end of September 1533.
The earliest of similar official “summaries of advices” range from the year 1510 to 1522, and from amongst them I obtained from Vienna a copy of the following, derived from a letter of Andrea Badoer's:—
“Summarium litterarum oratoris nostri in Anglia, diei 6 Aprilis 1510.
“Writes that he has hitherto been unable to see the writings of agreement stipulated with the King of France; but on the authority of the King of England, having heard it from his own lips, declares them to be in such form as will greatly please the Signory, towards whom his Majesty continues to show himself most favourable. He has withdrawn the Protectorate of England at the Court of Rome from the Cardinal of Pavia, (fn. 32) having heard that be is utterly French, and in lieu of him has appointed as his protector Cardinal Pietro ad Vincula, (fn. 33) the Pope's nephew.”
In conclusion, I have to congratulate myself on the continuation of that assistance from all my Venetian friends to which I have frequently alluded. The present volume, like its predecessors, owes much to the diligence of Mr. E. G. Kirk.
Venice, 18th October 1869.
P.S.—After the foregoing pages had been printed, the Venetian news-letters arrived from Vienna, and I regret to say that amongst them there are but four “advices” from England, dated 6th April 1510, 31st January and 4th February 1527, and 2nd March 1544.
The series ranges from 1510 to 1572.