Venice: December 1535

Pages 35-38

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.

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December 1535

December. MS. Report in the Venetian Archives. 80. Report of France made to the Senate by the Ambassador Marin Giustinian.
For several reasons, the most Christian King maintains a close friendship with the King of England. In the first place, because any war he might undertake would be impeded by the English unless they were his friends, they being greatly feared by the French, (and ten Englishmen are in fact a match for twenty Frenchmen) (ed in effetto dieci Inglesi vagliano per vinti Francesi); (fn. 1) and because, heretofore, they conquered France so that nothing remained to the King but Orleans, and hence comes the title of King of France, which is assumed by the King of England, because after taking Paris he had himself crowned there; and the English having restored Normandy, the French crown gives them annually as census or tribute 50,000 crowns perpetuis temporibus. Secondly, the great treasure said to be possessed by King Henry, renders him a good confederate in any war. Therefore King Francis seeks his alliance, the common enemy uniting them, it being notorious that his most Christian Majesty has no greater enemy than the Emperor, whom the King of England in like manner has not only offended, but expects daily to be invaded by him, which causes these two Kings to unite willingly, the position of their territories rendering it easy for them to molest and seize Flanders through their friendship with the Duke of Guelders. In addition to this, the two Crowns have formed a friendship together, because both one and the other have a scarcity of friends, the most Christian King having deserted his allies in 1530 at the Congress of Cambrai, whither he went for the recovery of his sons; and the King of England lost his friends, by repudiating Queen Katharine, the Emperor's aunt, and by alienating the Church property. The fear of the Emperor, which is common to both Kings, and consideration for his Kingdom which renders King Henry suspicious of the Emperor (et l'interesse che ha il Re d'Inghilterra del Regno suo per I'Imperator (sic),) join the two Crowns together for resistance against a common enemy; but distrust arises between them, the King of England being apprehensive lest the Emperor allying himself with France may give his most Christian Majesty the Duchy of Milan, and thus break the confederation whenever he pleases. This same distrust may be entertained by other Powers, who might wish to adhere to France rather than to the Emperor. Therefore the King of England and his Ministers seek to make marriage between Angoulême and the daughter of the new Queen, and thus to give King Francis so deep an interest in England that King Henry may no longer fear lest the Emperor bribe him with the Duchy of Milan. The Bishop of Winchester [Gardyner], Bryan, and Wallop are ambassadors in France to treat, and in fact the English would wish for war with the Emperor provided the French move quickly (venissero da buone gambe), thus anticipating the war with which they are threatened at home, by an attack on the Imperial dominions; and it is said the English would come into Italy and Flanders, and defray one third of the expense.
The most Christian King seems averse to this war, either because he wishes to obtain better terms, or await greater opportunities; but as the Pope purposes proceeding against England, and the Emperor intends to execute the sentence, the King is compelled to adhere to France. (fn. 2)
Venice, December? 1535.
Dec. 5. Despatches, Venetian Archives, File no. 4 B. 81. Lorenzo Bragadino, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Signory.
Long audience of three hours with his Holiness, who told him that as the head of Christendom, which is so harassed by Sultan Solyman, by the rivalry and discord between the Emperor and the King of France, by the schismatic King of England, and also on account of the Duchy of Milan, (fn. 3) he requested your Serenity to to give him your opinion and advice, as he placed great trust in the judgment of the Senate, by reason of its prudence, and of the love it had always demonstrated towards him.
Rome, 5th December 1535.
Dec. 8. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini in St. Mark's Library. 82. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the King of the Romans, to the Signory.
The Apostolic Nuncio, Vergerio, arrived yesterday. He has made a five months' tour throughout Germany. He went to all the towns on the Rhine, to Flanders as far as the ocean, then to Bohemia and Saxony, and finally to all the parts of Germany. He held a conference with Martin, and was much more honoured and caressed by the Lutherans than by the Catholics. According to his account he has important things to communicate; he says he shall depart speedily, being summoned by the Pope to Rome, to report the whole of his negotiations. He believes that the Council will be held speedily. He has discovered that Martin was begotten of the Devil.
Vienna, 8th December 1535.
Dec. 11. Despatches, Venetian Archives, File no. 4 B. 83. Lorenzo Bragadino, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Signory.
Letters were received from the French Court. The King was better; he had given audience to the English ambassador, and was to go to mass. Although no open demonstration of war is made, his Majesty says he will enter Italy in great force, and take the chief command, provided your Serenity be on his side, according to the hope given him by the Pope.
Mons. de Lange has departed for Germany.
Yesterday Consistory sat until after the 22nd Lour. The Bull against the King of England was read. Many objections having been made to it, its despatch was delayed, and they ordered it to be amended, not a little to the indignation of his Holiness.
Concerning the adjustment between the Emperor and the most Christian King, the former he does not choose the Milanese to be given, either to the Duke of Angoulême, or to the other son of the most Christian King. The proposal made by the Imperial ambassador in France to give the most Christian King the Milanese, provided he would abandon the King of England, was not made by the order of the Emperor, who was prepared to give King Francis the Kingdom of England for one of his sons, on condition of his taking for wife the Princess [Mary], daughter of the first Queen; and in addition the Emperor would give him a pension on the Milanese. This seems to me hard to believe, but it is my duty nevertheless, to acquaint your Serenity with all that I hear, most especially on good authority, leaving you to form your own opinion on the matter. The French agents suspect the Emperor of giving them words, and gaining time to arrange his affairs, so that whereas at first they seemed to hope for some adjustment, they are now disappointed; nor do they cease daily urging the Pope to devise some form of agreement whereby to recover the Milanese.
Rome, 11th December 1535.
Dec. 13. Despatches, Venetian Archives, File no. 4 B. 84. Lorenzo Bragadino, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Signory.
The Pope has confirmed to me the speedy arrival of the Emperor, which he expects will take place in the middle of next month, (fn. 4) and he also confirmed the offer of the Kingdom of England as made by the Emperor to the King of France. Expressed surprise to his Holiness that the Emperor should offer so large and powerful a kingdom, together with a pension on the Duchy of Milan; and that the King of France should not accept so great a bargain (si largo partito). The Pope rejoined, that in the first place the King of France suspects that the Emperor would not keep the promise which he makes solely for the purpose of detaching him from the King of England. In the next place it seems impossible to King Francis that a Frenchman should rule England, and therefore he does not seem to intend giving ear to this proposal. The King of England has sent his most Christian Majesty (to use the Pope's own words) “carte blanche, offering him a large sum of money and a number of troops, both infantry and cavalry, should he choose to wage war on the Emperor, but as yet the King of France has merely answered him in general terms, and waits to see what we may be able to do with the Emperor, as we intend to treat this matter with his Imperial Majesty, nor will we that it be negotiated by others.” (fn. 5)
The Pope then asked me if I had any news from your Serenity about the Milanese; I said I had not He told me his Nuncio departed on the 11th on his way to your Serenity; and it then being time for his Holiness to robe for chapel, I took leave.
Rome, 13th December 1535.
Dec. 18. Senato Mar, v. xxiii. p. 115, tergo. 85. Importation of English Cloths.
Put to the ballot,—
All merchants, both natives and aliens, to be empowered for one year from this date to export white cloths from England for this city, either by land or water, by any ship or vessel, Venetian or foreign, with the obligation to pay one third of the freights to our arsenal.
Ayes, 163. Noes, 16. Neutrals, 5.
Dec. 20. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta), File no. 14. 86. The Doge and College to Hironimo Zuccato, Venetian Ambassador in England.
Send him the summary of their last advices from Constantinople, which are to be communicated to the King.
Have received his letters of the 10th instant.
Dec. 31. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini in St. Mark's Library. 87. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the King of the Romans, to the Signory.
On occasion of the Christmas holidays, his Majesty caused Prothonotary Casal to have rather more liberty than has been conceded him hitherto, and allowed him to speak to one of his servants, who has come from Italy to give him money, &c, but he is still in the castle of Cità Nova, where he was before. (fn. 6)
Vienna, 31st December 1535.


  • 1. Marin Giustinian was well able to form a just estimate of the comparative merits of the two nations. As a young man he resided in England for four years (1515–1519), during the embassy of his father Sebastian Giustinian; and in after-life, as seen by the present report, he was himself ambassador in France from 1532 to 1535–6.
  • 2. This report was published in Paris, A.D. 1838, by M. N. Tommaseo, and in 1839 by Eugenio Alberi; and I have thus been enabled to correct some mistakes in the copy preserved amongst the State Papers of Venice
  • 3. Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, died on the 24th of October 1535.
  • 4. The Emperor arrived at Rome on the 5th of April 1536. (See L'Art de Vérifier les Dates.)
  • 5. “Mi confirmò che la venuta di Cesare qui saria molto presta, existimai chel habbi da esser alla mità del mese futuro, et confirms il partito che porge lo Imperator al Re di Franza, esser il Regno de Ingelterra, et quello se contiene nelle alligate mie; et dicendo io a Sua Santta che mi maravegliava della Cesarea Mtà che offerisce uno si grande, et potente regno, et pension sopra il Ducato di Milano, et del Re di Franza che non accettasse uno si largo partito, Disse il Re di Franza prima dubita che lo Imperator non li mantenga la parola, ma che il tutto se faci a fine chel se discosti dal Re de Anga. Dapoi li par che questo sij impossible che uno francese domini la Anga et però non mostra de voler attender al ditto partito, al qual Re di Franza il Re de Anga manda, per scriver le formal parole de sua Santità cartha bianca, et offerisce gran summa de danari et numero di gente, si da piedi come da cavallo, volendo far la guerra contro lo Imperator, ma esso Re di Franza fin hora non li ha data risposta alcuna salvo general, et aspetta quanto si potrà operar per noi con lo Imperator perchè nui volemo trattar questa materia con sua Cesarea Mta non volemo che altri la tratti,” etc.
  • 6. In vol. 7 State Papers (Part 5 continued, p. 641,) there is a letter from Francesco Casal to Cromwell, dated Rome, 10th of January 1536, containing a paragraph concerning the imprisonment of Prothonotary Casal, thus, “A mio fratello non hanno mai voluto che persona alcuna parli.”