Venice: January 1554

Pages 451-456

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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January 1554

1554. Jan. 5. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. lxviii. p. 183, tergo. 844. The Doge and Senate to Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in England.
Her Majesty's Ambassador resident with them had audience of the Signory a few days ago; and after announcing what had been treated in the English Parliament, and that the marriage of the Queen to the Prince of Spain was negotiated, the Ambassador added her Majesty would always maintain the friendship which had subsisted between England and the Republic. The Signory thanked the Ambassador. Desire him (Soranzo) to repeat the Signory's thanks.
Ayes, 157. Noes, 2. Neutrals, 2.
Jan. 12. Parti Secrete Consiglio X. File no. 8. 845. The Council of Ten and Junta to the Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor.
By his letters of the 15th and 17th ult., have heard how prudently he conducted himself respecting Sir Francis Barnard's coming to the Imperial Court (nella occasione della venuta a quella Corte del Cavalier Bernardo).
By these same letters, perceive what he in the first place caused to be done by his secretary, and what he himself did subsequently, about the audience given him by the Emperor; and with regard to the Signory's ambassador in England. Although these offices were performed with the best intention, and for a good end, nevertheless with regard to the words which he told the Bishop of Arras he had written to the ambassador in England, charging him “neither by signs, gests,” etc., the Ten and Junta would have wished that, without descending to so many particulars, he had expressed himself with greater regard for the Signory's dignity, as done by him on former occasions, and as—with his usual prudence—he will know how to do for the future.
In his letters of the 23rd, received after the above-written, he asks their orders whether he is to speak to the Bishop of Arras that he may desire Hironimo Falconeto to desist from the language held by him (as the Ambassador writes) about Soranzo in England. As Soranzo, by his letters of the 11th ult., has assured them that what was said about him concerning this affair of the marriage (fn. 1) deviated utterly from the truth (as written by him, they believe, to the Ambassador likewise, and as they themselves considered certain even before the receipt of his letters); and as their last missive prescribed to him the office he was to perform in this matter with the Emperor and the Bishop of Arras, they think that will suffice; and that it would be unfitting to do anything more, or to seem to take so much thought for every word uttered at the Court, even by malignants or frivolous persons; as so far from doing any good it would but rather increase suspicion.
Have chosen freely to unbosom themselves to him; and are very certain that being prudent, as he is, he will perfectly realise their intention.
Ayes, 24. Noes, 0. Neutrals, 2.
Jan. 19. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. lxiii. p. 188. 846. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Bailo at Constantinople.
The Emperor has sent four personages of distinction as ambassadors to England to treat the marriage between the Prince of Spain, the Emperor's son, and the Queen. By order of his father, the Prince will cross from Spain to Flanders in the spring. The Emperor is arming in Flanders, and the Signory's letters from France, purport that his most Christian Majesty is doing the like, and that he has sent Pietro Strozzi into Italy, where he has already arrived, being now Governor of Sienna.
Ayes, 161. No, 1. Neutrals, 3.
Jan. 19. Lettere Secrete Capi Consiglio X., File no. 5. 847. The Chiefs of the Ten to Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in England.
Wish to know whether a Dalmatian, Captain Berislao, who was in the pay of the late Kings Henry and Edward, and now receives stipend from the King of the Romans, still continues or has been in receipt of any stipend from Queen Mary. Require also information about his condition and qualities; whether he is a man of valour and honour; and whether the English Government is satisfied with him. To obtain particular information, as it were on his own account, and with all becoming caution, and to acquaint the Chiefs with the full result.
Ser Thomas Contarini, C.C.X. Lectæ Ex'mis D'nis
Cap. utr. manus.
Ser Aloysius Donato, C.C.X.
Ser Hermolaus Barbaro, C.C.X.
Jan. 19. Lettere Secrete, Capi Consiglio X., File no. 5. 848. The Chiefs of the Ten to the Venetian Ambassador with the King of the Romans.
Wish for information about Captain Giacomo Berslao (sic), a Dalmatian in the pay of the King of the Romans; what sort of man he is, and what pay or pension he receives from his Majesty; how long he has served him; and whether he is considered valourous and faithful; whether he is treated well, or in what form; whether his stipend or pension is current; and whether he has any stipend in England. To give them especial notice of all that he knows about this man, as they understand he was lately at the Court of the King of the Romans, who despatched him (et è stato espedito da Sua Mtà.), and that the Ambassador is aware of this. Should he not have full information, to write what he knows.
Ser Thomas Contarenus, C.C.X. Lectæ Ex'mis D'nis
Cap. utr. manus.
Ser Aloysius Donato, C.C.X.
Ser Hermolaus Barbaro, C.C.X.
Jan. 23. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 849. Queen Mary of England to Cardinal Pole. Most Reverend Lord and my good Cousin,
Owing to the change of the religion many persons who seem to be heretics, (fn. 2) as also married priests, have been found in the enjoyment of the principal ecclesiastical benefices of the realm, amongst whom are certain prelates, including Archbishops and Bishops who have been deprived and dismissed their sees by the last decree of the Parliament. (fn. 3) The Queen, therefore, pondering within herself how necessary it is to provide their churches with other pastors, and not choosing in any way to attempt anything whatever against the authority of the Pope and the Apostolic See, nor against the privileges and ancient customs enjoyed and observed by the Kings of England her predecessors, before this evil modern religion was introduced into the realm, she has thought it well to give Pole notice of this, that she may be better acquainted with his opinion; and also learn, by what way, without scruple of conscience, she could provide for the said churches until the obedience of the Catholic and Apostolic Church be again established in England; and she, therefore, with all earnestness, requests him to inform her, if, in virtue of his faculty, he has authority to confirm the collation of these benefices, or whether the Pope has reserved the disposal of them to himself. She also wishes to know whether Pole can confirm in the benefices already vacant the persons appointed to them, on account of their worthy qualities, and not without the advice of the most Catholic and lettered men of the kingdom. In case recourse to the Pope be requisite, the Queen requests Pole to inform her how she is to proceed in this matter; feeling sure that he will continue the usual sincere friendship and goodwill which he has always borne her. Will not tell him how the Kings her predecessors had the election of similar persons, as he knows more about these things; and her lack of experience not sufficing for their explanation, she will say nothing more about them.
The Queen has written to the Bishop of Norwich, her ambassador with the Emperor, and commissioned him to visit and receive Pole on his arrival at Brussels, and not merely to salute and congratulate him on his coming, but also to deliver a message in her name; and she hopes in the Divine goodness to see him in his native land, when she shall be able more freely and fully to unbosom herself to him, assuring him that his coming will give her very great comfort, as known to the Lord God, whom she prays always to have him under His holy protection.
(Signed) Your most affectionate and most friendly cousin so long as the present life shall last me,
From St. James's, 23rd January 1554.
[Italian. Translated from the original in English.]
Jan. 28. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 850. Cardinal Pole to Pope Julius III.
The Pope will have heard of the letter received by Pole from the Emperor inviting him to the Imperial Court, saying he should be glad to see him, and that the sooner he went thither the better would his Majesty be pleased. Three days after the receipt of this missive, Pole commenced his journey, hastening it as much as the season allowed, and on the 10th instant arrived at Louvain, sending thence immediately to announce his arrival to the Emperor through the Bishop of Arras. His Majesty evinced great satisfaction, and gave orders for him to be met and received with all pomp, as was in fact done on the 20th. The Duke of Savoy, in the Emperor's name, accompanied by the whole Court, went to receive him at a place outside the town (fn. 4) where Pole had stopped, and where he was greeted in like manner by the Bishop of Arras; who told him how glad the Emperor was to hear of his safe arrival, and that had his Majesty's health permitted he would have come in person to meet him. The Duke of Savoy, also, addressed him most courteously in the Emperor's name. But before Pole arrived at that place, when midway between Louvain and Brussels, he was met by the two ambassadors from England, one of whom is the Bishop of Norwich [Thomas Thirlby], and the other, a layman, (fn. 5) who the day before wrote him a letter which they sent by two of their gentlemen, apologising for not having gone to meet him as far as Louvain, their sole reason being that they were hourly expecting audience of the Emperor, which was in fact given them on the day of Pole's arrival.
The whole procession then moved towards Brussels, where Pole was met at the first gate by the clergy, and conducted under the canopy to the cathedral, being accompanied thence to his lodging most reverentially by a multitude of people. On the morrow he sent to request the Bishop of Arras to ascertain when it would please the Emperor that he should go to him; which office the Bishop courteously promised to perform on that same day, and came yesterday to tell Pole he had done so, and that the Emperor willingly and without delay would have seen Pole had not his Majesty been compelled to take a certain purge.
The Bishop then commenced making many apologies in the Emperor's name for having caused Pole to be stopped at Dillingen, saying it was owing to his Majesty's surprise that, after explaining his mind about the peace to the Cardinal Legate of Imola, who announced it positively to the Pope, his Holiness, before receiving the Emperor's reply, had immediately appointed Pole to negotiate it; in addition to which, with regard to the matter of England, the Emperor did not deem its discussion opportune whilst Parliament was sitting.
Without making much rejoinder to the excuse, Pole assured the Bishop of the sincerity of the Pope's proceedings, and said that his Holiness's goodwill was illustrated both by the first legation [to England], so suited to his duty and office, as likewise by the second [having for object peace between the Emperor and France]; and by so much the more as the Pope thought by the second to facilitate the first, relating to the matter of England; and that as to the affair of the peace, this delay seemed to favour its negotiation, which Pole professed himself ready and anxious to undertake; and that as Divine providence has ordained that the Prince his Majesty's son is to be King of England; it being therefore to be hoped and expected, as he is so Catholic, that on the restoration there of the religion the kingdom will enjoy every blessing, so that this plant may take root and bear fruit; Pole, as an Englishman, was consequently so much the more anxious to effect the peace, it seeming to him that it would greatly contribute to that result, and thoroughly establish the affairs of the religion in England.
The Bishop of Arras then thought fit to discuss the steps taken about the peace by the Legates who preceded Pole; and said that the King of France made them such replies and demands as to exclude every possibility of negotiating it; and that of this the Pope must have been very circumstantially informed. It has given Pole great pleasure to hear by the last letters from his agent at Rome, that by the Nuncio his Holiness is sending him especial instructions about the peace; the appointment of this Nuncio being in like manner a great comfort to Pole, as he believes him to be a personage from whom the Pope may promise himself the best possible service, to the honour of God and to the common weal, with regard to both matters.
Congratulates himself on the Emperor's not having given him audience, as he has been seriously indisposed from rheumatic gout (cattaro), which commenced at the close of his journey; but, beginning to feel better during the few days that he has remained quiet, he hopes to recover before the Emperor appoints him audience; and, unless he feels himself worse, will not on this account allow the opportunity to escape him. On the way, received much courtesy from the Archbishop of Cologne and the Duke of Cleves; and as the other two Archbishops [Mentz and Treves?] had in like manner prepared to do him honour, he mentions it, to render due testimony to the honour and reverence demonstrated through his person towards the Apostolic See and his Holiness.
From Brussels, 28th January 1554.


  • 1. As Francesco Bernardo had greatly aided the peace between England and France in 1546, the Imperialists might have suspected him of some similar negotiation in 1554.
  • 2. Havendo per la mutatione della religione in questo regno trovati molti come loro demostrono heretici, et preti conjugati, etc.
  • 3. “Nel numero de' quali trovandosi alcuni prelati, si arcivescovi come vescovi sono stati per l'ultimo decreto del Parlamento deposti et soluti delli loro beneficii.” “In October 1553, by a majority of 350 against 80, the mass was restored, and the clergy were required to return to celibacy.” (See Froude, vol. vi. pp. 115, 116, ed. London, 1860.)
  • 4. Probably the monastery of Diligam (sic) near Brussels, from which some of Pole's subsequent letters are dated; nor may “Diligam near Brussels” be confounded with Dillingen in Bavaria.
  • 5. Query, Sir John Masone. (See Foreign Calendar, Brussels, 18 January 1554, p. 49.)