Venice: April 1535

Pages 19-22

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 5, 1534-1554. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1873.

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


April 1535

April 2. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini, in St. Mark's Library. 42. The Same to the Same.
On Easter Day the King went to Mass in the church of St. Augustin, near the castle, accompanied by the Landgrave, who when the priest began to say Mass, went into the garden and remained walking about until it ended, saying he would not lose time in what was unnecessary. As soon as this Landgrave gets out of bed, whilst dressing, a layman reads the Gospel to him, expounding it in their fashion; and after having had a good dinner he does the like, thinking thus to comply with the precepts of the Christian religion (satisfar alla religion Christiana). There are neither friars or priests in his territories, and their property yields him an annual revenue of about 80,000 florins.
The Duke of Wurtemberg has done the like, and worse.
The Duke of Saxony was the first, and God grant that the others may not likewise follow this fashion.
The greater part of the free towns have done the like, and were it not for the Emperor and this King of the Romans, who do their utmost to preserve what little religion there is in their territories, “actum esset
The Dukes of Bavaria are also Catholics.
It is true King Ferdinand sold well-nigh the fourth part of all the revenues of the monasteries and bishoprics in his territories, but it was with the Pope's consent and when the Turks were marching hitherwards. When taxes are imposed or demanded by his Majesty the clergy contribute as much as, or rather more than the laity.
The King told me that the Landgrave departed very well satisfied with him, his Majesty having promised that the Emperor will pardon him, and in case of need make use of him in these parts, he being in fact a very brave soldier. Should the Emperor not employ him, and no adjustment be made with the King of Hungary [Zapolsky], King Ferdinand will send him into those parts.
I visited the Duke of Brunswick, and the son of the Marquis of Brandenburg, in your Serenity's name; they were very glad to see me, and returned many thanks, offering the State any service in their power.
I also visited the Landgrave, who gave me most exuberant greeting, saying that your Serenity and the entire Republic were replete with extreme wisdom, and that he wished to come some day to Venice, to visit your Excellency and the State, for whose service he offered both his substance and his life; and having told him that his fame in Italy equalled that of any person whomsoever in Germany, he asked me if the fame was good or bad. I said he had the fame of a valorous commander of great courage and fortunate, and that for the rest I referred him to the Papal Nuncio now in this town. He laughed, and was very much pleased with my visit.
I have heard that he also offered to bring 20,000 Germans into Italy against the Pope should any Prince require his services. He departed yesterday on his way home together with the Duke of Brunswick and the Marquis of Brandenburg's son.
The Pope's Nuncio [Vergerio] arrived on Easter eve, and has brought, I believe, two bags full of briefs, of the tenour of enclosed copy. (fn. 1) He is now directing and distributing them to such persons as he thinks fit, and will likewise go through his Majesty's territories and to places where Catholics are dominant, but not elsewhere.
All persons here say that the Pope has done well to send these briefs, lest (as nothing more had been said on the subject) a fixed time be prescribed for convoking the Council, but that as for the Pope and Cardinals, they have no more thought for the Council than they have for the affairs of the next world, as they well know that in the first place they would be deprived of all temporal jurisdiction, and cardinals., bishops, and priests be forbidden to hold more than one benefice apiece, and be compelled to constant residence and to employ ecclesiastical revenues as they are bound to do by law.
In these parts the Apostolic See is held in small account, but as the King of the Romans and the Emperor, who are really good and devout Catholics, show it great respect, a few persons have some regard for it, but not much.
I send your Serenity with this, the effigy of the Landgrave whose character is still more decided than the expression of his portrait, and he is about 28 years old. (fn. 2)
Vienna, 2nd April 1535.
April 10. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini in St. Mark's Library. 43. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the King of the Romans, to the Signory.
The Papal Nunico [Vergerio] tells me he shall depart next week, and will go first to the Cardinal of Salzburg, and then to the Dukes of Bavaria, and the Count Palatine, who are all good Catholics, and will acquaint them with the Pope's readiness to hold the Council.
The King has heard that the Pope's envoy to King John [Zapolsky] has passed, contrary to his Majesty's order, and that he is also the bearer of a certain commission from the King of England, delivered to him by the Prothonotary Casal, which very greatly displeases his Majesty, who says that if King John does not comply with his wishes, it will be owing to Rorario's mission.
Vienna, 10th of April.
April 21. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta,) File no. 14. 44. The Doge and College to Hironimo Zuccato, Venetian Secretary in England.
Wrote to him on the 1st with the summaries of the advices from Constantinople up to the 21st February. Having subsequently received other letters of the 12th March, send their summary in like manner for him to communicate as usual.
The last letters received from him, dated the 24th ultimo, were copious and pleased the Signory; desire him therefore to continue keeping them diligently advised of all he hears worthy of their knowledge, as it will be to their satisfaction and to his own praise.
April 29. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini in St. Mark's Library. 45. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the King of the Romans, to the Doge and Signory.
Gasparo Pastor has been sent for hither, letters from France and England, received by him at Venice, having been found in his possession, and which were on their way to King John enclosed in the letters of a certain Abbot, and if he have been privy to the fact, it will cause him much trouble and molestation.
On St. George's Day, King Ferdinand used annually to robe himself in the habits of the Garter, having received the Order many years ago from the King of England, but neither last year nor this year did he assume them on account of the English King's divorce; and the Emperor, who is also of the Order, has done the like.
Vienna, 29th April 1535.


  • 1. These briefs purported that the Pope purposed holding the Council General.
  • 2. According to Chiusole's Genealogies, he was 31, having been born in 1504.