Venice: February 1554

Pages 456-472

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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February 1554

Feb. 5. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 851. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal [Cristoforo] di Monte.
Having already by the accompanying replied sufficiently to his letter of the 8th ultimo, it remains but to tell him of the audience which he had yesterday of the Emperor, being called by the Bishop of Arras, who, together with the Duke of Savoy and other personages of the Court, accompanied him both going and returning. He found the Emperor risen from his bed, seated, and with his feet on another chair, looking very well, and better than Pole expected to find him. His Majesty had a third chair placed near him, nor would he allow Pole to speak to him until he also sat down.
After making the due obeisance and imparting the Papal benediction sent by the Pope, Pole congratulated the Emperor on his good condition, although not such as required for the present need and the common weal of Christendom; but nevertheless, as he found his Majesty improving, there was reason to thank God and to hope for yet greater prosperity. After presenting the Papal brief, Pole commenced talking about the causes of his legation, the Emperor seeming to listen willingly and to be gratified by what he said touching the Pope's good disposition; and, in short, to be glad to see him, both on account of the person who sent him, and for his own sake likewise.
Beginning then to reply about the matter of England, his Majesty proceeded to say that he did not think it as yet mature for negotiation; and when discussing the peace and the injuries received by him, he came however to the conclusion that, provided means be found for making it fair and durable, he never intended to exclude the negotiation, but that he was ill satisfied with what had been proposed heretofore, to the detriment of Christendom; and he said the business consisted in the means and particulars, to which he should be better able to reply after they had been intimated to him, and if they were such as to warrant hope of more certain quiet for Christendom; making it appear that he had more at heart the common weal than his own private wrongs.
This, in short, was the Emperor's reply, and as much as Pole could elicit from the audience, which lasted almost an hour; and when he told the Emperor that at this first interview he would not weary him further with details, praying him, as his wish for the common weal was worthy of himself, to vouchsafe moreover to bethink him of the means, as no one could give a better impulse (indrizzo) to the business than his Majesty; the Emperor answered that those who had offended were bound to propose the form of agreement, by restoring what they had so unjustifiably seized.
Rejoined that this concerned the settlement, which might be hoped for, after commencing the negotiations with the other side, but that to facilitate them, he requested the Emperor himself to think of the means, and give some hope of negotiation, (fn. 1) leaving it subsequently to Pole to sound the disposition of the parties (tentar l' animo loro): to which his Majesty replied, that daily events and opportunities would show better what was to be done. Pole then presented the Bishop of Worcester [Richard Pate], whom the Emperor received graciously, and after he had kissed his hand, and said a few words, Pole took leave and returned home accompanied by the same personages who took him to the Court.
He is now anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Nuncio, with particulars about this negotiation [for peace], to enable him to give it some commencement, but greatly fears that the affairs of England, where certain tumults have been excited (fn. 2) on account of the marriage, may furnish additional matter for war, and render the negotiation of this cause more difficult.
In the middle of last night, the English Ambassador [Thirlby, Bishop of Norwich] sent to show Pole a letter received by him from the Queen's Privy Council, announcing the risings stirred-up (escitati) in two provinces of England, one of which is . . . . . [Devonshire] where the Prince was to land, as it is towards Spain; but the population remained staunch to the Queen, the only persons who rose being certain seditious leaders, who were supposed to have been already captured, or to have made their escape, not having found favour with the people.
The other rising (tumulto) was in Kent (near London, towards Calais) where the people mustered; but the Queen immediately sent the Duke of Norfolk thither with troops, and on the morning of the day when Pole wrote this letter, the Bishop of Arras told him that they were some 10,000 in number, and as they promised pardon to those who deserted the rebel leaders, many resumed their allegiance. The chiefs and some of the insurgents withdrew into the small town of Rochester with the intention of disputing the passage into Kent of the Duke, who was marching against them and anticipated a speedy victory.
The city of London stood firm for the Queen, together with the rest of the nobility, except the Duke of Suffolk, father of that Jane (padre de quella Giovanna) whom the Duke of Northumberland had made his daughter-in-law and Queen; it being supposed that he had taken flight, from fear of being sent back to the Tower, seeing that this had been done to the Marquis of Northampton; (fn. 3) and the Queen presupposing that Suffolk was gone into the province (in, quella provincia) [Leicestershire] where he has his mansion and estate, her Majesty sent against him the Earl of Huntingdon, (fn. 4) who has to wife the writer's niece, (fn. 5) and has as many adherents and no less authority in that country (in quel paese) than Suffolk himself, being of a rival family which is opposed to the Duke.
Such is understood to be the state of affairs in England; (fn. 6) and these same letters say besides, that although the insurgents allege no other cause than their wish to resist the future domination of the Spaniards, yet was it nevertheless believed that they had also been instigated by the cause of the religion. Prays the Almighty to interpose His holy hand. Is compelled to delay sending his messenger with letters to the Queen until he hears that the insurrection in Kent has been more thoroughly suppressed, as it is impossible to go from Calais to London by any other road. Was invited yesterday, on behalf of the Queen [Dowager] Maria [of Hungary] the Regent, to attend mass this morning in the chapel erected by her Majesty. Went accordingly, and after the mass gave the benediction and “indulgence,” urging the congregation to pray pro pace et unitate ecclesiœ; and subsequently, on descending with the Queen Dowager of France [Eleanor of Austria], and the Duchess of the Lorraine [Christine of Denmark], he saluted them in the Pope's name, alluding to the peace,. and exhorting them likewise to lend a helping hand, and aid so holy a work, for the benefit of Christendom, as they offered to do, with all piety; whereupon he took leave of them, saying he would visit them later more conveniently.
On arriving at Brussels, told the Bishop of Arras that he could not satisfactorily commence treating the affair of the peace, until by the publication of the jubilee he had invited the people to pray God for its conclusion; and that he purposed having the bull published by the Bishops of the Low Countries. The Bishop of Arras asked to see it, and next morning sent word to Pole that he might do what he purposed doing, but demurred somewhat to the words pro reductione regni Angliœ; and so when these few days of carnival are over, it will be issued.
From Brussels, 5th February 1554.
Feb. 7. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta) v. lxviii. p. 189. 852. The Doge and Senate to Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in England.
By his letters of the 15th ulto. were acquainted with the conclusion and stipulation of the marriage between the most Serene Queen and the Prince of Spain. To perform such office of congratulation as becoming.
Ayes, 187. Noes, 8. Neutrals, 4.
Feb. 8. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta) vlxviii., p. 189. tergo. 853. The Same to the Same.
In conformity with what he wrote to them on the 15th ult., the most Serene Queen's ambassador communicated to them this morning, in her Majesty's name, the conclusion and stipulation of the marriage contracted (seguito) between her and the most Serene Prince of Spain; and he also stated the particulars of the marriage contract, adding how much satisfaction it had caused in England, where affairs were proceeding quietly. To this the Signory made a suitable reply, thanking her Majesty for so loving a communication, and rejoicing at this auspicious event. Desire him, when congratulating the Queen and Council, according to the order transmitted in their letter of yesterday, not to omit the Signory's thanks to both one and the other for this announcement, giving them in such affectionate and suitable terms, as he shall deem becoming.
Ayes, 10. Noes, 5. Neutrals, 0.
Feb. 8. MS. St. Mark's Library. Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 854. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal [Cristoforo] di Monte.
By his last, dated the 28th ult., together with those of the 4th instant, (fn. 7) Cardinal di Monte will have heard what was known down to that time about the rising in Kent, and how the Duke of Norfolk, who had been sent against the rebels there by the Queen, was said to have returned to London, being deserted by his troops, who had joined the enemy; which intelligence was subsequently confirmed, it being also heard later that what had been said about the other rising [in Devonshire] was true. After this, news came that the leader there [Sir Peter Carew], not meeting with such support from the people as he expected, had fled to France. Of the Duke of Suffolk, who was said to have made his escape from fear of being again confined in the Tower, nothing more was heard, save (as Pole wrote in his former letters) that the Queen sent into the province whither he had betaken himself, the Earl of Huntingdon, who is his rival, and very powerful in that same district (net medesimo paese).
Her Majesty, perceiving that the Duke of Norfolk, being deserted by his troops, had turned back, sent to tell the chief of the insurgents in Kent [Sir Thomas Wyatt], and the others likewise, that she was willing to use her natural clemency and to pardon them provided they would submit and return to their obedience; and as it seemed that the marriage which she had purposed making for the benefit of the kingdom was not generally approved, she promised not to marry without the universal satisfaction of the Parliament and the whole realm.
To this proposal the chief of the rebels is said to have haughtily replied that he commenced doing what he did against her for the liberty and benefit of the kingdom, and that the example of what was done by the Queen's father against the rebels at York [in 1536–1537], to whom he failed in his promise, putting so many of them to death, warned him to beware of placing trust in her; and that having a good cause he hoped for God's assistance.
On receiving this reply, the Queen caused Wyatt to be proclaimed a rebel, in London; and seeing the rebels continue their march in that direction, she on the 31st January arranged to present herself in a certain public place [Guildhall] where the chief citizens were to assemble, that she might acquaint them both with her proposal to the rebels, and their reply; adding also, that on the day of her coronation, when the ring which she wears was put on her finger, she purposed accepting the realm of England and its entire population as her children; and thenceforth she never intended to do anything but what was for their benefit; and that thus would she do for the future, promising especially not to marry without the universal consent of Parliament.
This announcement was to be made on the day above-mentioned, (fn. 8) on which day Count d'Egmont and his colleague (the Imperial ambassadors who went lately to England to conclude the marriage, with the intention of proceeding to Spain), by the will of the Queen and according to the opinion of the Council, departed from England, and arrived at Brussels on the day before yesterday. The cause of their departure was apprehension lest their presence should irritate the people, who had already expressed their dislike by deeds, and some of the Queen's guards who formed their escort, after embarking them, behaved disrespectfully towards them, both by word and by firing certain harquebuse shots.
From what was told Pole by a gentleman, his friend, who came over with these ambassadors, this Kentish insurrection seems to have been plotted and contrived with France (con Francia), but was not to have commenced so soon, and the reason for anticipating the outbreak seems to have been suspicion of one of their accomplices, who had been imprisoned for obstinately persisting in the religion introduced in the time of King Edward. It is said that they expected a great number of ships from France, as also troops; and by other letters from the King of France, which the Imperialists intercepted yesterday, it is reported very publicly that the French had an understanding with Madame Elizabeth the Queen's sister, who, being at a distance of 30 miles from London, and having been called by the Queen, excused herself on the plea of indisposition; so her Majesty sent her litter there (onde la Regina le haveva mandato la lettica — sic), nor is it yet known what she did subsequently. This is what Pole has been able to ascertain about the affairs of England, but he considers it a good sign that no further advices have been received since the departure of the ambassadors, as there is no lack of a way by which to send messengers without making them pass through Kent.
When the ambassadors took leave of the Queen, she said, with a great show of confidence, that she had not the slightest doubt of being assisted by the Almighty, having had experience of his help and power when in greater need, and being conscious that her mind was entirely intent on His service; and that she would not ask further assistance from the Emperor, feeling certain that he would not fail in whatever he deemed helpful for her. It is understood that he is providing the greatest possible number of ships, of which it seems he has already 12 in readiness, and 3,000 German troops, to repel any invasion which might he made by way of France, and that he will do all that shall be rendered expedient by the course of events; and it also appears that there is a talk of mustering as soon as possible 12,000 Germans, to be employed for this same purpose.
Should the Queen be bound by her promise not to marry without the universal consent of the kingdom, it is very probable that this matrimonial negotiation may be suspended, at least for a while, though Pole cannot say whether they will relinquish the thought of it; most especially as at Brussels, some of the chief ministers of the Emperor and of Queen Maria [of Hungary] are heard to express opinions at variance with each other, some of them seeming to consider the marriage hopeless, and that no further design of any sort should be formed about it; whilst others on the contrary seem to evince a belief that this insurrection took place on account of the religion rather than of the marriage, which in the greater part of England is approved of. (fn. 9) Prays God that what takes place may prove most to His service, and to the advantage of the country.
Pole's above-mentioned friend who came with the ambassadors, told him that he knows the Queen to have said and confessed freely that she had erred in placing trust in the counsel of the heretics, and it seems that she has become very suspicious of the greater part of her Privy Council. (fn. 10)
Does not write further to the Pope for the present, waiting to hear the result of these disturbances, which news cannot reasonably be long delayed. Cardinal di Monte will be pleased to acquaint his Holiness with what Pole has written to him thus in haste, sending it by a courier, who is being despatched on the sudden to Italy.
Is anxiously expecting the arrival of the Nuncio, of whom as yet he has no notice at all.
Within the last few days much has been said about the Emperor's departing speedily for Germany, with the intention of being present at the Diet of Augsburg, which is to be held after Easter, and it is said that the Bishop of Arras has already ordered the harbingers to be in readiness; and that his Imperial Majesty will soon send a personage to announce this journey of his to the Princes of Germany, that they may the sooner be present in person at the Diet. Unless our Lord God causes the disturbances in England to be completely quelled, there is great fear that they may prevent what might have been hoped through the peace.
From Brussels, 8th February 1554.
Feb. 9. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 855. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal di Monte.
When first the news arrived of these disturbances in England Pole sent the Bishop of Worcester [Richard Pate] to condole with the English ambassador [Thirlby, Bishop of Norwich] in Brussels, and to learn whether there was anything Pole could do for the service and assistance of the Queen. The ambassador sent to say that nothing occurred to him, save that he thought it might he to the purpose for Pole to commence the negotiation for peace by proceeding to treat it in France; and on the morrow, when visiting Pole he repeated this, and Pole thought fit to communicate it to the Reverend Father Soto, (fn. 11) who having occasion to ask audience of the Emperor for other business, he told him, when asking it, to mention that he had also something to say to his Majesty on behalf of Pole, as he did.
The demand was made yesterday, and the audience took place today, when Soto, after representing this opinion and suggestion of the ambassador, said Pole thought fit to impart it to the Emperor, and to let him know, that if his Majesty approved of his going to France at the present time he would do so, provided the Emperor would be pleased to give him some hope, (fn. 12) such as authorising him to say that he had induced the Emperor to consent to send some personage to some neutral place to commence treating the peace, provided the King of France would do the like, and that Pole was to intervene for the same purpose, which he would do if it pleased his Majesty, although he was expecting the Nuncio with certain particular instructions about this matter, having free commission from the Pope to do whatever he thought expedient for the common weal.
The Emperor replied that he thought it was better to wait for the Nuncio, as, if God had thus ordained it, the peace would be made in an instant. First of all, Father Soto had said, how much sorrow and distress Pole felt at these disturbances in England, on every account, and particularly by reason of the regret it must cause the Emperor. His Majesty evinced the best possible opinion of Pole, and trust in him, and as to the affairs of England, putting aside the respect of the Queen, for whom he had great affection by reason of her piety and goodness, even had she not been his kinswoman, he showed (mostrò) that on the score of his own individual interest he was not at all distressed, and that he was induced to negotiate the marriage principally for the sake of the religion, both in England and in the Low Countries, and for their general good; and that as the thing was intact (et che essendo la cosa Integra), he had returned to Spain the commission from the Prince, sent by him for the conclusion of the marriage, although in his conversation he did not make it appear that he had renounced the thought, but that it gave him no anxiety. He also said that the Queen had purposed telling the Londoners, that having at their suit renounced her intention of remaining without a husband, she should be ready to resume that same intention, seeing that the spouse of her choice was not to their entire satisfaction. (fn. 13)
Father Soto greatly praised this intention of the Queen, and said the Emperor should acknowledge, as a special favour from God, that these disturbances had taken place before the Prince's arrival in England, as otherwise there could not but have been great danger. His Majesty seemed to admit and take it in the same way, (fn. 14) and not to intend doing anything by force.
This is the whole of Father Soto's conversation on this subject with the Emperor, whom he says he found in much better health than before, and that his Majesty himself moreover assured him, that it was a long while since he had felt himself better.
As yet no further news of events in England has been received, since the arrival at Brussels of Count d'Egmont, which surprises the Imperial Government and makes them draw sinister conclusions, it having merely been heard by letters from Antwerp that the advices from London, dated the 3rd February, announced the entry of the insurgents into the borough of Southwark (nel borgo che è di qua dal fiume), and that the Londoners seemed inclined to defend themselves, independently of other respects, from fear of being sacked by the rebels, who were some 3,000 in number.
It is also said that all the foreigners had been disarmed, more on account of a number of Frenchmen who were in London, than from any other cause, and that the Queen's speech in public had given great satisfaction.
The English merchants at Antwerp having shown signs of departure and already commenced selling their effects in haste, on hearing of the trepidation (del tremulo) of England, and the return of the Imperial ambassadors, his Majesty gave them to understand that they were to remain in all security, and in short gave orders (though with all gentleness of language) that without his commission, neither the merchants, nor their ships, nor their merchandise were to quit Antwerp.
Bequests the Cardinal to acquaint the Pope with the contents of this letter and of the others written yesterday, all which go together, the courier who was to have departed yesterday being detained until today, on account of the news of Sienna, which causes much talk at Brussels, no less than the affairs of England.
From Brussels, 9th February 1554.
Feb. 10. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 856. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal di Monte.
From Monte's former letters and from the credential brief, Pole fully understood the Pope's intention with regard to the course to be pursued by him about the Prince's marriage, and perceiving the progress of affairs, when the Reverend Father Confessor [Soto] was on the eve of departure [from Dillingen], and asked him what he was to reply about Pole's opinion in case the Emperor alluded to [what] it [had been], before he devoted himself exclusively to the office enjoined him by the Pope respecting the religion and the marriage, Pole desired him to say what was the truth, that several letters and messengers having been exchanged between the Queen and himself, he never either directly or indirectly said a word relating to the intention of marriage (pertinente at fin del matrimonio), as his opinion in this matter had never been asked; and it not being his custom to interfere in similar matters, which require great consideration, he said not a word, nor did he give a hint on the subject. But when Soto asked him what his opinion was, Pole did not hesitate to tell him, in order that he might impart it to the Emperor according to opportunity, namely, that his first opinion would be, that the Queen, being of the age she is, should content herself with the spouse who has always stood her in the stead of parent, he being God the Father, and that during her life she should attend to doing whatever was to his honour, leaving the affairs of the succession of the realm to take their course.
This Pole would have said at the commencement, had he been asked, but as this opportunity did not present itself, and as according to general report the marriage with the Prince had been stipulated (concluso), Pole then said that as he was charged with the affair of the religion, which was not very popular in England (non molto plausibile in quel regno), he neither could nor ought to show himself favourable to this union, his knowledge of the national disposition convincing him that it was even more universally odious than the cause of the religion, lest he should additionally impede the first commission assigned him by the Pope;—so that although the marriage with the Prince would be concluded without Pole's assistance, he was convinced by the goodness of the Queen, independently of what may be conjectured of the Emperor's piety, that this was done for the purpose of having a better arm (meglior brazzo) whereby to establish the affairs of the religion; in which case the Emperor will not find any servant in the whole world more desirous of the Prince's tranquillity than he is, nor who will put himself more forward in whatever he can do, either through his own means, or through his kinsfolk or friends, to establish the Prince's rule (stato) in England in peace and quiet.
This was the reply of the Father Confessor [Soto], when Pole sent him to the [Imperial] Court (fn. 15) [in November 1553], and he is now the more confirmed in it, seeing that it coincides with the mind of his Holiness.
So much in reply to the first letter of Cardinal di Monte; and with regard to the second, concerning the instructions about the peace, which he is to receive from the Pope, it arrived in very good season as he has not yet had audience of the Emperor, not having received previously any commission about the peace, which must now be his chief business; and although the letter lacks certain particulars, it will enable Pole to temporise until the arrival of the Nuncio with the most minute instructions. Is very anxiously expecting him, and rejoices extremely that the Pope should have sent so worthy and adroit a personage.
In the meanwhile Pole will do his utmost to ascertain the bent of the Imperialists, according to the desire of the Pone, who also wishes to know what he elicited from the conversations held with the Bishop of Arras and the English ambassadors. Speaking with the Bishop of Arras about the benefit of peace and saying that if at first, in general, for the benefit of Christendom, and then being sent by the Pope for the purpose, he greatly desired to succeed in it, so at present, as an Englishman, he is much more interested in the business than ever, and also for the greater service of the Emperor, who having established (piantato) his son in England, peace seemed necessary, in order that he might derive entire comfort from this step; and Pole foresaw that the Divine goodness, purposing by all means to render the Emperor's old age tranquil, after the many toils endured by him, had added this incentive of peace-making to the others, that he might more beneficially enjoy the English marriage.
The Bishop admitted the validity of this argument in favour of peace, to which however he said the Emperor was never averse, provided it could be made durable; and he then expatiated on the evil proceedings of the French, coming to the conclusion that if they proposed tolerable terms it would be seen that the Emperor will always have more regard for the common weal than for the revenge of his own private injuries.
With the English ambassadors Pole had already performed the office mentioned by Cardinal di Monte, with regard to exhorting the Queen to use her influence with the Emperor and the King of France, to bring the negotiation for peace between their Majesties to a good end; showing how much this would be to the honour and especial advantage of the realm of England, which has now greater need of peace than any of the other kingdoms devastated by the war.
The ambassadors returned thanks for this suggestion, saying they would write to the Queen; and Pole also will address a letter to her to the same effect, having received one from her Majesty since his arrival at Brussels, the tenour of which Cardinal di Monte will perceive by the enclosed copy, Pole having had it translated word for word as written to him in her own hand. Thereby Monte will perceive how much might be hoped from her goodwill towards the affair of the religion if there were anyone on the spot to encourage and show her the way to carry it into effect, seeing that in the midst of so many obstacles she cannot refrain from asking counsel and assistance from one in whom she places trust. Pole thinks of sending one of his attendants on purpose to give her such counsel and assistance as he can, until greater aid and favour arrive from his Holiness, to whom di Monte will communicate everything, and request him to assure Pole as soon as possible of that consolation [papal absolution?] which the Pope wishes to impart to the Queen and the country.
What Pole can do in this matter is to acquaint the Queen with his powers, that should the persons in question acknowledge and confess their past errors, remaining firm, and with unfeigned repentance asking absolution for them, Pole, through the grace given him by the Pope, is enabled to receive them into the Church, and, should they evince worthy fruits of repentance, and possess qualities worthy of the episcopal dignity, qualify them in such a manner as if they bad not fallen into schism. As for the rest he does not doubt that her Majesty will find the Pope ready and inclined to console her.
In addition to this, Pole will exhort the Queen to send him one of those who evince piety, that he may come with powers from them to ask this absolution. This he thinks of doing, though could he have hoped to enter England he would have delayed the absolution until he be present there; but the ambassadors, when speaking with him about their commission from the Queen, mentioned two most important things with regard to his coming, announcing them to her Majesty's deep regret, that owing to the perversity of the heretics she did not see in what way he could enter the kingdom, repeating all that the Emperor had given him to understand on the same subject through Don Juan de Mendoza; nor did they assign any fixed time when he might hope, as they alluded to the marriage of the Prince, declaring that the principal cause of it had been the trust that by means of such an arm (brazzo) the affairs of the religion might be better established.
Replied that this end was holy, provided it could be said that God had united them, and that as no further progress than this could be made at present in the cause of religion, they should all continue praying the Almighty, by means of this marriage, to facilitate the matter and conclude it; and he then commenced speaking of the necessity for the peace, for which the Queen and the Prince should exert themselves. With regard to Pole's not going to England, he said he would do what he knows to be the wish of his Holiness, arriving there at the moment deemed most beneficial for the Queen and the kingdom, and attending in the meanwhile to the affair of the peace, to which should God grant success, Pole thinks thus to serve both one and the other, as on its own account and for the cause of the religion it is more than necessary. Pole then left the ambassadors, who seemed satisfied with his replies, but he marvelled that in stating their commission it seemed to him that they utterly excluded his going to England, whereas by the Queen's letter Cardinal di Monte will see that her Majesty gives hope of it; but perhaps the ambassadors alluded to his entry as legate, and the Queen as a private cardinal, which would not seem to him very fitting. God's will be done, and Pole will obey the commands of his Holiness.
From Brussels, the 10th February 1554.
Feb. 18. Miscellaneous Letters, Venetian Archives. 857. Marc' Antonio Damula, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Chiefs of the Ten.
The ambassador from Ferrara, at the Emperor's Court, is a Piedmontese, and has almost daily communication with the Duke of Savoy, who is fond of him (che lo ama); and hesitating to address Damula personally on the subject, informed him through a confidential friend, that in the Duke's house, there being also present a gentleman of the Emperor's chamber, discourse was held about the offices said to have been performed by your Serenity's ambassador in England; and moreover that his Majesty has given orders for the drawing up in England, of a written statement of his proceedings, with the intention of sending it to your Serenity. I said, I thanked the ambassador for the kindness he had shown me, and that I should give good news (bona nuova) to the most noble Soranzo, as they will never find that he has comported himself otherwise than prudently in this matter, as he always has done in others, both because he has thus been endowed by God with good ability, as also because he had domestic discipline, which has taught him never to commit the slightest error, still less such a thing as this. Has also heard from others, that the aforesaid Ferrarese ambassador, has moreover performed some other good office in this matter; and I let it appear that I hold this gossip (queste zanze) in no account. After having written thus far, one Nicolò, a musician in the service of the Queen [Maria of Austria, Queen Dowager of Hungary?] who is often in the habit of coming to the Venetian embassy, and is very intimate with the Emperor's second equerry, Monsr. d'Andelot, near whom he lodges, came and told me that a few evenings ago, when supping with said d'Andelot, Monsr. de Horbes (sic), a gentleman of the Emperor's chamber, said that his Majesty had complained of your Serenity's ambassador, saying that he would have him punished, and if he found that your Serenity had ordered what he did, his Majesty would find means to make you repent it. These words are important, most especially when repeated by these individuals about the Emperor's person, for both one and the other go when they please into his chamber; and I believe that these two said them to each other, for Nicolò seemed to tell me this with much personal fear, and under promise of secrecy, saying it would cost him his head if divulged; but I am in doubt whether the words were uttered by the Emperor, he being always habitually reserved in speech, yet is it my duty to acquaint your Excellencies with the whole. I answered Nicolò, thanking him for his goodwill, and saying I did not believe his Majesty spoke thus, that the ambassador will be acknowledged utterly blameless, and that I laugh at these vanities.
From Brussels, 18th February 1554.
Marc' Antonio Damula, ambassador.
In cipher throughout, with contemporary decipher—
Addressed: Excellmis Dnis Dnis Capitibus Illmi Consilij Decem, Dnis Colmis.
Feb. 23. (fn. 16) ? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 858. Cardinal Pole to Pope Julius III.
By his last of the 12th, (fn. 17) after giving the Pope account of the auspicious result of the disturbances in England, he told him that, by reason of the delay of the Nuncio's arrival, he had commenced negotiating the peace; detailing what he had done in this matter with the Bishop of Arras. Has again spoken with him at great length, hut could elicit nothing save that they wished for peace, and that should the French propose reasonable terms, modifying the reply made through Cardinal Dandino, the Imperialists would listen to them willingly and reply. The Bishop added that Pole ought to have gone first to the King, who, having been the aggressor, should be the first to be instigated to propose the negotiation of an agreement, as had been previously said to Pole by Don Juan de Mendoza.
Replied that, independently of the Emperor's supreme rank, the Pope sent him in the first place to his Imperial Majesty, as to one who, considering himself the injured person, should be sought first of all, to favour the pacification; notwithstanding which, the Pope will also send him to France, on knowing that the Emperor approves of it. To this the Bishop of Arras made no answer; and, in short, again repeated several times that Pole could not hope for anything more from the Emperor, and that this was moreover expedient for the matter itself.
Pole then went to visit Queen Maria, and after congratulating her on the good news from England, presented the Papal brief, saying how much the Pope relied on her favouring the affair of the peace; and was listened to graciously, her Majesty saying that no one was more bound to desire it than herself, (fn. 18) considering how much the Low Countries suffered from war, and that she would always do her best; but that everything consisted in finding means to make a durable peace, and not such as the one stipulated heretofore.
Would not say more, in consequence of the determination announced by the Bishop of Arras, with whom having spoken a second time, and finding him confirmed in it, he at length said that he knew not what else he could do, but go straight to France for the performance of his legation, as he would do, with the Emperor's goodwill, after his next audience of him, which he had on the 19th, when he found his Majesty in the same good health as on the former occasion. Congratulated him on the victory granted by God to the Queen of England, as showing the paternal care and constant protection vouchsafed her by the Almighty, who by this fresh disturbance warned her above all to promote the interests of the religion, especially as it was seen that the people in the North of England and in Cornwall, who have always been well disposed towards the true religion, showed themselves in this need the most faithful and well affected to her Majesty. This the Emperor admitted, saying the Queen would not fail to do as became her duty and her piety.
Pole then commenced adroitly speaking about the peace, endeavouring to learn something more from the Emperor than had been told him by the Bishop of Arras, but after all could elicit nothing but the expression in general terms of his wish for peace; and that his goodwill and desire for the common weal would be known, when the French, by coming to some particulars as it behoved them to do, should show that they also wished for peace, and would give an opportunity for negotiating it.
At the end Pole said that, with his Majesty's good grace, he was going to France, and, as the Emperor made no reply whatever to the contrary, Pole settled not to return again to his Majesty unless the Nuncio arrived in the course of the present week, in which case, if the Emperor pleased, he would accompany him to audience; and with reference to this matter he mentioned the good qualities of the Nuncio, which had caused the Pope to make choice of him.
Having written thus far, a secretary arrived from the Duke of Mantua, and says that on the 12th instant he left the Nuncio at a short distance from Trent, travelling leisurely (che veniva a giomate) and in the company of the Cardinal of Burgos; so perceiving that his arrival at Brussels will be very tardy, Pole, as the season is so far advanced, will set forward in three or four days, to anticipate if he can and treat the peace before the re-commencement of hostilities in these parts (in queste bande). Leaves one of his secretaries at Brussels to acquaint the Nuncio with what has been negotiated, and to reside there for whatever may be required. Another of his attendants also remains there, with orders to follow Pole after the arrival of the Nuncio, and to bring what the Pope shall have been pleased to send him. As it was requisite to have a license to pass into France, when Pole discussed this topic with the Imperial ministers, asking them for a pass for this person whom he leaves at Brussels, as also for others whom he may have to send to and fro on account of this business, they made more difficulty than the Emperor himself, to whom he was compelled to have recourse about this, as they said they should prefer having the intercourse carried on by letters rather than by messengers; notwithstanding which, they at length consented to his sending a messenger when circumstances required him to do so.
On the 20th instant a new ambassador arrived from the Queen of England, with an honourable company of gentlemen, having been sent to the Emperor to give him particular account of the last successes; and on the morrow the old ambassador, (fn. 19) who is Mons. de Norwach (sic), came to tell him the reason why the other day (l'altro giorno) he did not come to visit him, saying that when he left England no news had been received of Pole's arrival at Brussels, though he heard of it at Calais; so having no commission about this from the Queen he hesitated whether he should come; and having asked the Bishop of Norwich his opinion, the Bishop declined interfering in the matter, saying that for his own part there was no occasion for him to entertain similar doubts, as from the commencement he had been commissioned by the Queen to visit him.
The ambassador then narrated the course of events in England; and when Pole inquired how the Queen would proceed for the future, he said he knew nothing whatever, having no letters either from the Queen or the Council, but merely private advices; nor could he reason on future events, but on the past alone. Exhorted him by his fidelity to God, the Queen, and his country, to recommend her Majesty, with this great opportunity, to establish the affairs of the religion, without which establishment Pole said he could not hope God would allow her to enjoy the realm in peace.
The ambassador seemed to approve what was said to him, but with regard to Pole's going to England he said it was not yet the time. Answered that the Pope had sent him to seek the welfare both of the Queen and of the realm, and that in one way he should always seek it, namely by praying God, but would await the moment deemed opportune by the Queen for promoting it by his own presence, and in the meanwhile continue his journey to France for the negotiation of the peace, about which he would also write to the Queen, she having no greater need of anything than of peace; and he then exhorted the ambassador to write to her Majesty not to give the King occasion to make war.
The ambassador promised thus to do, and said that amongst the other marriage articles with the Prince, it was stipulated that she should not be compelled (ristretta) to take part in this war against France, but rather that the Prince should be the means for negotiating the peace.
Pole then mentioned that he was sending a messenger to England, as already announced by him on two former occasions to the ambassador, who always dissuaded him, but now he made no further rejoinder.
On departing Pole purposes sending this messenger and his letters to the Queen, and will acquaint the Pope with the result.
There is no hope that the Queen will be stimulated on either side of the Channel (nè di qua nè di là), but rather checked (rafredata), in proceeding about the affairs of the religion, and most especially with regard to the reconciliation (reduttione), but this must not prevent them from performing such offices from day to day as will conduce to this result; and the greater will Pole's exertions be, the more he sees the necessity for them, with the hope that the Almighty will not cease constantly knocking at the heart of the Queen, whom He, of his Divine goodness, has visibly exalted and defended. (fn. 20)
The bearer of the present packet will be Don Hernando de Vega, brother of the Viceroy of Sicily, who, as the Bishop of Arras says, is being sent by the Emperor, amongst other things, to thank the Pope for the paternal will evinced by him towards the Prince.
From Brussels, 23rd of April (sic) [February ?] 1554.
Feb. 24 ? (fn. 21) MS. St.Mark's Library. Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 859. Queen Mary of England to Cardinal Pole.
Since it pleased the goodness of God to place her in her present grade, she has never had anything more at heart than the union of England to the Apostolic See; so she never ceases thinking what ways and means would be the most expedient and easy for the accomplishment of this her desire. It is necessary for the public at large (per l' universale), to introduce it through the Parliament, which represents the entire kingdom, and especially by making known to every one in what errors they are living, and how many spiritual and temporal losses those persons incur who live separated from the body of the Catholic Church. For both these evils she finds there is no more opportune and efficacious remedy than to have good and Catholic prelates, who, being amongst the most important members of this Parliament, can by their own votes, and by persuading others to side with them (et con il persuader gli altri al medesimo), give great assistance to this cause; and having great cure of souls, they are able both of themselves, and by means of good curates their dependants, to persuade (fn. 22) every one individually to welcome willingly the Acts of the Parliament, in which even should this point concerning souls (questo ponto delle anime) not be carried, these examples and persuasions would nevertheless prepare the way to introduce it universally, or, at least in the greater part of the population.
For the accomplishment of this holy work, and to commence this act, which is so important as an indication of her goodwill, the Queen has made choice—according to the tenour of her privileges and the custom of her predecessors—of twelve Bishops, as by the enclosed list, (fn. 23) who, from the knowledge and information obtained about them, are amongst the most Catholic and well affected to the Apostolic See, and on every other account the most suited to this burden, of any she has been able to find in England for presentation to the Pope, that they may be confirmed and inducted in these churches, according to the mode employed before the introduction of the schism. And therefore, both for the avoidance of further delay in doing what she ought for the honour of God and the common weal of her kingdom in this matter, as also for other necessary causes, she has been compelled to summon Parliament on the 2nd of April next. (fn. 24)
Has also determined to present these prelates to Pole, as the representative of his Holiness and the Apostolic See, requesting him to admit this presentation (always with reservation of the Pope's approval), and send it in her name (et mandarla in nome mio) as speedily as possible [for confirmation ?] to his Holiness, so that in conformity with these and other letters written on the subject, she may have the presentation of these bishops, praying the Pope to be pleased to confirm and institute the persons presented by her to the sees, Pole in the meanwhile giving them license to take possession, should the confirmation and institution not arrive in time, so that they may sit in Parliament and produce the good effect desired.
Pole is to direct the business in the way that shall seem best to him, as she refers herself entirely to his judgment; and by this letter, she appoints him her proctor (procuratore) to make this presentation, with faculty to substitute others in his stead at Rome for the same purpose, promising on her part to do whatever can be done for this holy union.
From St. James's, 12th March (sic), [24th February ?] 1554.
Feb. 29. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta), File no. 19. 860. The Doge and College to Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England.
Yesterday they received his letters of the 28th ultimo down to the 7th instant giving a copious account of the disturbances in England, and of the battle between the insurgents and the Queen's troops, her Majesty remaining victorious, the like news having been communicated to them by the English and Imperial ambassadors, who this morning entered the Signory's presence. This intelligence caused them such pleasure and satisfaction as become their sincere friendship with that most serene crown. To congratulate the Queen in their name, assuring her of the pleasure and consolation derived by them from her success; they hoping that her cause being so just, as it really is, her affairs will proceed prosperously and have the good result desired by her. To perform the like office with the Bishop of Winchester, and such other Lords of the Council as he shall think fit.
Lectæ in pleno Collegio.


  • 1. Con dar qualche attacco di pratica con essi.
  • 2. Essendosi suscitati certi tumulti.
  • 3. The arrest of Northampton took place apparently on the 26th January. (See Froude, vol. vi. p. 154.)
  • 4. Francis Hastings.
  • 5. Catherine Pole, eldest daughter and co-heir to Henry Pole, Lord Montacute.
  • 6. This account was probably derived from the letter of Renard to the Emperor, dated London, 29th January 1554, of which there is a transcript amongst the Rolls House MSS. (See Froude, vol. vi. p. 161.)
  • 7. Not found.
  • 8. The Queen's address to the citizens at Guildhall is dated 1st February in Froude (vol. vi. pp. 162,163). I am unable to decide whether Cardinal Pole is more exact
  • 9. Il quale nelle maggiori parti dell' isola sia tenuto per buono.
  • 10. Et pare che sia eutrata in gran sospetto della maggior parte del suo consiglio.
  • 11. In the Foreign Calendar, 1553–1558, p. 20, are the instructions given to Father Sotto or Soto, by Cardinal Pole, when he sent him to the Emperor from Dillingen in November 1553.
  • 12. Et che a sua Maestà piacesse darmi qualche attacco.
  • 13. From this it may be inferred that if the Queen made her speech in Guildhall on the 31st of January it was aftet Count d'Egmont and his colleague had embarked, and on the 9th of February the Emperor merely knew what the Queen had purposod saying.
  • 14. Mostrò de accettarla et intenderla al medesimo modo.
  • 15. Compare this with “Instructions by Cardinal Pole to the Reverend Father Confessor of the Emperor.” (Foreign calendar, 1553–1558, p. 20, No. 61. 1553, October, or beginning of November.)
  • 16. The date in the manuscript is Brussels, 23rd April, but the contents of subsequent letters make me substitute 23rd February.
  • 17. Not found.
  • 18. Con dire che Lei toccava più die ad altri il desiderare la pace.” Maria of Austria, Qucen Dowager of Hungary, was Regent of Flanders.
  • 19. This does not seem to be the “old ambassador, a layman”—the predecessor and colleague of the Bishop of Norwich, who was mentioned by Cardinal Pole in the letter dated 28th January. I am unable to ascertain his true name, or that of the “new ambassador,” who arrived at Brussels on the 20th February. By the Foreign Calendar it seems that Sir John Masone arrived at Antwerp from Brussels on the 2nd February 1554, nor does he appear to have returned to Brussels until the end of April 1554. (See Foreign Calendar, p. 81, date May 3, Brussels.) Who then was the old ambassador, who on the 21st of February 1554 owned to having had scruples about visiting Pole? If Masone was the person who accompanied the Bishop of Norwich to meet Pole mid-way between Louvain and Brussels on the 20th January 1554, it seems improbable that he should have hesitated to pay him a visit at his own house; though the person mentioned in this letter may have been Masone, who, perhaps, went back from Antwerp to Brussels between the 2nd and the 21st February, but how to convert “Norwach” into Masone I know not.
  • 20. Anci tanto più Io sono caldo in solicitarla, quanto veggo chè ne ha maggior bisogno, con speranza chè N. S. Dio non sia per cessar de batter de continuo al cuore de essa Regina, dalla sua divina bontà esaltata et difesa come si è visto.
  • 21. Again is the date in the MS. incorrect; and I can only guess that the letter was written about the 24th February.
  • 22. Et per mezo de buoni curati inferiori e persuader particolarmente ognuno che abracci, etc., etc.
  • 23. The list does not exist. In Froude's 6th vol., p. 198 (ed. 1860) there is the following paragraph: “The Pope had granted permission without difficulty to fill the vacant sees; and on the 1st of April [1554] six new prelates were consecrated at St. Mary Overies.”
  • 24. “Parliament met at Westminster on the 2nd of April. The Oxford scheme had been relinquished as impracticable.” (See Froude as above, p. 212.)