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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This volume (being the fifth of the Venetian series,) contains a calendar of the papers from January 1534 to 1554. It embraces the little that remains of the correspondence between the Ambassador Capello and the Signory, or, more correctly speaking, their letters to him and to his Secretary Zuccato down to June 1535, when he returned from England. His recall took place on the 14th January 1535, and on the 2nd of February 1534, the Chiefs of the Ten, in alluding to Capello's letters of the 6th of January preceding, refer with something like dissatisfaction to a publication against the person and authority of the Pope, which was doubtless the “lityll boke that the Kynge's consell hath sett owt.” This book, in all probability, was sent to Venice by Capello; but no account of his proceedings can be obtained from his own despatches after the close of Marin Sanuto's Diaries, in September 1533, where they are regularly calendared, except his Report on England, made on the 3rd of June, in 1535, to the Senate, wherein he gives a brief and rapid view of his service in England. On the departure of Carlo Capello from England, the Republic of Venice was represented, at the Court of Henry VIII., by the resident secretary Hieronimo Zuccato, who had the sole charge of the Venetian legation in London from 1535 to 1544. Zuccato's despatches, however, are not now extant in the Venetian Archives, but the letters addressed to him by the Venetian authorities are regularly recorded there. He appears to have been recalled, because of the “lewd fashion” in which he spoke to the King and his Council. (fn. 1) In the same year in which the death of Katharine of Aragon occurred, the valuable correspondence of Reginald Pole commences. It is contained in a contemporary manuscript, which was presented, at the suggestion of the then librarian Don Jacopo Morelli to St. Mark's Library, by the Council of Ten, in the year 1795. It is not, however, known by what happy combination of circumstances the Council of Ten obtained possession of this priceless volume. It contains 349 letters, all more or less deeply interesting to the historian of the period, and to English scholars in particular. What adds to their value is the fact that those written in Italian were unknown to Querini, when he published his work entitled “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli, et aliorum ad ipsum.” (fn. 2)
Many of the letters in the Marcian volume are unfortunately without any date, and their superscriptions, bearing in most instances the title of the sees for whom they were intended, often leave the reader to surmise the surname of the prelate to whom they were addressed. This labour of identification was, in itself, very heavy; but it was greatly increased by the incorrect elates given by the scribe of the 16th century. It was by no means easy to supply this defect, or to ascertain who the bishop really was to whom the letter was addressed, especially as many of the names are so transformed and dislocated as almost to defy recognition. The solution of these riddles did not always repay the toil and time bestowed upon the inquiry. In some cases, however, I was fully recompensed for my patience. Two instances of this it will be sufficient to exhibit to the reader. The second Latin letter of the series concerning Cromwell and Tunstall, and the supremacy of Henry VIII., is dated from the Benedictine “Grange” (Granza) of Sta. Giustina, in the Euganean hills, which Pole describes as a “paradise”; and such it yet appeared to me when, on the first of October of this present year, I stood on the “Belveder” or “Loggia,” from which the letter was evidently written. The monastic “Grange” of Rovolon is now a secular farmhouse; the chapel or oratory a coach-house; and the belfry a dovecot. In what may have been the refectory, I found a broad table extending the whole length of the apartment (the rafters being decorated in the Venetian style), and which was strewed with black and white grapes, chestnuts in the husk, and Indian corn in the cone; this produce of the fertile homestead being spread to dry for the Paduan market. In other parts of the building, I could trace the position of the cells: on the wall outside, a Benedictine escutcheon (the two palms, the mitre and the crosier) was visible from a window on the third floor; and from a door on the second floor I passed to the external “Loggia,” the view thence, “Montesque jucundissimos” (to use Pole's own words) having undergone no change, notwithstanding the lapse of 336 years; the variegated autumnal foliage of the grapeless vines contrasting with the dark green leaves of the stately Spanish chestnut trees, which formed the background of Montegalda with its cypress wreath, in the distance, beyond “fair Padua, nursery of Arts;” and the wooded Euganeans (in the midst of which Rovolon is situated) rendering the whole territory as enchanting a panorama as Reginald Pole represented it in August 1536, when discussing with the learned Benedictines of Sta. Giustina's monastery in Padua, the letters he had received from Tunstall and Cromwell, and the orders given him in the name of their master, Henry VIII.
The volume in which the correspondence alluded to abovc is preserved also contains a letter (No. 218 of the Italian MS.) addressed Al Vescovo Vido, at least, so it appeared at first. A closer inspection, however, made me think that the name was Vida; but the substitution of one vowel for another, was of little use, as I could not find any bishopric in any quarter of the globe in accordance with either nomenclature. On consideration of the circumstantial evidence, I was, at length, convinced that Cardinal Pole wrote the letter to thank
“Immortal Vida on whose honoured brow,
The poet's bays and critic's ivy grow,” (fn. 3)
for two copies of his work, “De Dignitate Reipublicæ,” one for Queen Mary and the other for Pole himself, to whom the book is dedicated in the form of a dialogue. He and two other cardinals, with his bosom friend Priuli, appear in it, as interlocutors. The scene is laid in a suburban villa at Trent during the session of the Council in 1545, and whilst Vida upholds Republican institutions, Pole's confidant, Marc' Antonio Flaminio, defends monarchical government.
Amongst the Cardinal's letters of an earlier date, there is a very remarkable one, translated from the English into Italian, and addressed to the Protector Somerset. It bears no date, either of time or place, but from its contents, as also from other corroboratory circumstances, I think I have not erred in supposing it to have been written at Rome on the 7th September 1549.
It purports to be a reply to a missive, with Somerset's signature, addressed to Pole, but which, from its coarse and ill-bred phraseology, he is loth to consider the production of a gentleman, and therefore assigns it to William Cecil, who, from May 1548 until the Protector's fall, was Somerset's secretary. (fn. 4) The letter was accompanied by a copy of the first edition of the Book of Common Prayer, of which the Protector asked Pole's opinion, and it is much to be regretted that the abrupt close of the reply, owing to the rising in the West and in Norfolk, in August 1549, prevented Pole from saying what he thought of it. The letter fills 26 pages, and may in fact be termed an abridgment of the reign of Henry VIII., by his kinsman, a Plantagenet.
As compiler of a calendar, I have merely to register documents, without commending or vituperating the individuals to whom they relate, but from the day Reginald Pole entered himself as a student at Padua, in 1521, until his final departure from the Lake of Garda towards England in 1553, my belief is, that he did more to maintain the repute of his country for high breeding, scholarship, integrity, and consistency, than any other Englishman I ever heard of. During that period he also sought steadily to suppress the abuses of the Church of Rome, and for this reason, by many Italian churchmen, his contemporaries, he was honoured with almost as much abuse as has been heaped upon his memory by the writers of his own country, three centuries and upwards since his decease. This virulence may be said far to exceed that of his successful rival for the popedom, Gian Pietro Caraffa, for whom, however, some apology may be offered, on the plea of volcanic temperament and personal interests; but on the other hand, it is some consolation to know that whatever may be written to the disparagement of Pole, at the present day, the Foreign Calendar (1554, May 5, p. 82), shows that an able diplomatist, his countryman and contemporary, who knew him well, said “there was not a better English heart than Pole's.”
I confess, therefore, to having had great pleasure in finding notices of him confirming this best of characters, given him by Sir John Masone, especially in the letter-book of Matteo Dandolo, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, during the Conclave of 1549–1550, when the virtue of the Cardinal of England, and the bitter enmity of Gian Pietro Caraffa, were amongst some of the chief obstacles to the election of Reginald Pole as successor to Paul III.
Bernardo Navagero represents Caraffa as sitting for three hours at table, the dishes required for his repast being twenty-five in number. His favourite dainties were malmsey and clotted Neapolitan “mangia guerra” of such consistency, that it might almost have been cut with a knife. To give zest and stomach for his prolonged indulgence in gluttony and liquor, Caraffa vomited forth abuse of the Emperor, of King Philip, and of the Spaniards. (fn. 5) In modern times these ebullitions have been styled eloquence. It is also added that Cardinal Pole was surpassed in the language of the fish market by this man, his malignant rival, of whom the foregoing sketch was made when he had become Pope Paul IV.; but from the character of Pole, given by Matteo Dandolo, (who, however, says nothing of his diet and drink, though other contemporaries represent him as very abstemious), the fitness of the comparison may be doubted.
Two months after Cardinal Pole had written his letter to the Protector, he lost his friend Paul III., and at the last “congregation” in his papacy, (fn. 6) when an abbacy was conferred on Pole, Cardinal Cupis, also a candidate for it, on hearing of his own disappointment, not merely acquiesced in the collation of the benefice, but commended it, saying that in addition to the abbacy of Canal Nuovo, the Cardinal of England deserved the benefices held by himself and others. As the contemporaries of Cupis pronounced him the “best of men,” and “the mirror and ornament of the Sacred College,” his opinion of Pole's merit is worth recording, by so much the more as it is confirmed by Dandolo, who in this same despatch adds that neither for the abbacy in question, nor for anything else had Pole ever made suit, although his fixed income received from Paul III. consisted solely in a monthly pension of 200 crowns; and that his many virtues had gained for him the title of “the Angelical Cardinal” in lieu of the Anglican Cardinal (porta più presto nome di Angelico che Anglico). Even before the Pope's death, in the betting-books at the banker's shops (where in Rome during a papal interregnum, wagers were registered as to the next occupant of St. Peter's chair, with as much formality as any that are ever booked on English turf with reference to the result of a horse race), the “odds” stood as follows: 20 to 100 in favour of Cardinal di Monte, 18 for Cardinal Salviati, 16 for Cardinal Ridolfi, and 15 for Cardinal Pole. A few hours after the appearance of this first list, Paul III. expired, and after performance of the obsequies, and a mass of the Holy Ghost, it was remarked that the Cardinals who followed the cross processionally in pairs, all made their obeisance on passing before the Cardinal of England, thus confirming the general report of his supposed destination for the popedom. (fn. 7)
On the 30th November 1549, within three months from the time of the transmission of Pole's letter to the Protector Somerset, a Conclave assembled in the Vatican, and at the banker's shops the “odds” were greater than before in favour of the Eight Reverend of England, despite his refusal to solicit votes. To the Cardinals who wished him to bestir himself in obtaining suffrages, it was his invariable answer, that he would never utter one single word to that effect, nor deviate from his ancient precept of following the Lord God, and desiring nothing but his will. Early in the morning of the 4th December, Pole “went up” to 40; later in the day he had backers at 46–50; and at night he was at 80, and 30 ducats were paid clown for payment of 100, in the event of his being proclaimed Pope on the morning of the 5th. After midnight, the Cardinals, his supporters, were on the point of “adoring” or doing him homage as their Chief, and at the bankers' shops, which during conclave were never closed at any hour, the Cardinal of England was at 95. Dandolo records the fact as a proof that the merchants were well informed about the state of the poll, and that the Cardinals' attendants in conclave went partners with them in the wagers, which thus caused many tens of thousands of crowns to change hands. The intended homage was prevented by Cardinal de Cupis, who, although he had expressed a belief that Pole deserved endless benefices, did not include the Papal tiara amongst them. He had, in short, joined the opponents of the Cardinal of England, whose election, Dandolo informs the Senate, was beyond measure unpopular, because the cardinals were convinced it would compel the Court of Rome to lead a new life, and withdraw to its spouse the Church, but that the virtuous minority desired it greatly. So on the 5th December, at the bankers' shops, Cardinal Pole still remained at 40, nor was mention made of any other candidate whatever.
On the 11th December, Dandolo wrote that Marcello Cervini, a cardinal in great esteem for religion and virtue, and who afterwards became Pope Marcello II., had declared himself in favour of Pole, making a speech setting forth his many merits; but Pole, in reply, after thanking his supporters, for conscience sake, urged them no longer to delay the election on his account, but to transfer their votes to some more popular candidate, and thus avoid all detriment to the city of Rome, and the Papal territory. He then withdrew, in order that his proposal might be more freely debated, but when he returned to hear their reply, they persisted in the choice already made, appealing to his virtue and piety, which should beware of misinterpreting the will of the Holy Spirit, and consider that in like manner as he was not at liberty to assume the popedom, so was he forbidden to divest himself of it, assuring him that the delay he so much regretted was customary, and that on most occasions a conclave lasted upwards of a month.
A few hours after this demonstration—which shows clearly that Pole was neither a mere “man of straw” (see Hook, p. 210), nor indebted solely to the favour of others for the high character he bore in conclave—the French party, whose intrigues had hitherto prevented the election, was much strengthened by the arrival of the five cardinals, Guise, Vendôme, Chatillon, Bellai, and Tournon, who had all been ordered by their King to vote for the Florentine, Ridolfi, which caused him to rise at the bankers' shops to 20, the same “odds” being offered in favour of England. On the 21st December Cardinal Pole lost one of his supporters, Cervini, who from a pulmonary complaint was compelled to go out of conclave, and on that same day, before Cervini's departure, Pole had 23 votes, and his enemy Caraffa 20. On the 24th Caraffa was but one below him, and said he “released” his voters, not choosing to keep the Church in suspense; Pole, on the contrary, declining to renounce the votes given him (as he had not canvassed them), expressed at the same time his readiness to resign the triple crown, though he would not allow it to be said that he had given way either to hope or fear. At this moment no other candidates made progress, and the contest being solely between Pole and Caraffa, the lasting and bitter hatred of this violent man for his placid and amiable antagonist, may fairly be attributed to entries in the betting-books of Rome, at Christmas 1549.
Notwithstanding Caraffa's protestations, the Erench faction continued giving him their 18 or 20 votes on the 26th December, when Pole had 23, though it was now generally supposed that England would not succeed; and on the 28th, when two more Erench cardinals (Amboise and Boulogne), arrived, although the Emperor was still staunch to Pole, the opponents of England became yet more elate. Amongst the reasons assigned by them for rejecting a Plantagenet, were the following: that he had spared the lives of heretics during his long Legation at Viterbo, and that he had a natural daughter in a convent at Rome. Cardinal Cibo, adding that, with all his admiration for Pole's virtues, he wished the triple crown to rest on the head of an Italian, although an Imperialist, withdrew his support from the Imperial candidate. On the 11th January, Pole and Caraffa had each 21 votes, Crispo as well as Cibo having deserted Pole, at the instigation, in great measure, of the French, who, on the 15th, were joined by another powerful partisan, the Cardinal de Bourbon. Finally, on the night of the 7th February, the struggle ended with the election of the Cardinal de Monte, a man whose vices were on a par with the violence and irascibility of Gian Pietro Caraffa; and although in due or undue course they both attained the object of their ambition, and although they are in greater repute with modern historians than Reginald Pole, the Cardinal of England's countrymen will, nevertheless, be convinced by the foregoing remarks, drawn from the contemporaneous correspondence of an impartial annalist, that the honour and fair fame of their native land was nobly upheld by Pole in Italy, throughout the longest conclave on record. It is therefore the more strange that he should not meet with even-handed justice at home.
One of Cardinal Pole's first acts, after the election of the new Pope, was to remonstrate with him against the bestowal of the red hat on his minion the so-called “Prevostino;” nor did he fail to render this disapproval manifest in the congratulatory letter addressed by him to Innocenzio del Monte (the name assumed by the “Prevostino”), a compliment which it was customary for the Cardinals to pay to any new member of the Sacred College. Julius III., to his credit, did not resent this just reproof, for in June 1550, when conferring the Legation of Bologna on Cardinal Cornaro, he saddled it with a monthly pension of 100 crowns for Pole, to whom he was expected moreover to assign 50 ducats per month on the “Datario,” until able to give him further supply from the Legation of Bologna, or some other papal office. Pole's own account of what he felt and did during the conclave may be read in a letter he wrote to the Bishop of Badajos. In September 1550, the Pope employed him to draw up the bull for reassembling the Council at Trent, and from that time forth he seems to have resided occasionally at Rome, or at Civitella, or Bagnarea. In July 1553, we find him on the Lake of Garda congratulating Doge Trevisan on his election, and alluding to his admiration for the new Doge's father, adding that, when a young Paduan student, he used to go expressly to the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, in Venice, to see so noble a sight as the Doge's father Domenico, a man adorned with every virtue, which had obtained for him the title of Pater Patriœ, as heard frequently by Pole—when listening to speeches in the Venetian Senate—from the lips of Doge Andrea Gritti.
One month after this record of his youth, Cardinal Pole, now in his fifty-third year, heard of the death of Edward VI., and of the accession of Queen Mary, on which he wrote immediately to congratulate Pope Julius. He also sent the glad tidings to the Imperial Ambassador at Venice, and on the 13th August, wrote his first letter to his sovereign. It was in English, into which tongue it is now retranslated from the Italian version in its writer's miscellaneous correspondence, now preserved in St. Mark's Library. The chief object of the letter, which was conveyed by Henry Penning, was to ascertain the Queen's views with regard to acknowledging the supremacy of the Church of Borne, and to know what her wishes were, as to the mode of performing the embassy to the crown of England, with which his Holiness had charged the Cardinal. On the 27th August, he wrote again to the Queen—apparently in English, and not in Latin, though of this there is no note in the manuscript—reminding her that the Pope's claims to be supreme head of the Apostolic see, were no less just than those whereby she herself succeeded to her father's throne; and the same day he addressed himself also to her Prime Minister, Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. The style of the letter is that of a superior to a repentant sinner, reminding him of his past errors, congratulating him on his present prosperity, and trusting that he may show himself worthy of it. On the 2nd of October, Pole, having already proceeded from the Lake of Garda to Trent, on his way towards England, wrote to the Queen, for the third time, implying surprise at having received no reply to his previous letters, and acquainting her with what had passed between himself and the Emperor about English affairs, and requesting her to communicate with his Imperial Majesty in the same strain. From Trent, on the same day, Cardinal Pole also wrote to Edward Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, and from the whole tenor of the letter, there can be no doubt whatever of his wish, were the Queen determined to marry —he being then ignorant of the many weaknesses and defects in Courtenay's character, disqualifying him utterly for such a post—that he should become King Consort of England.
On arriving at Dillingen, Pole's further progress was stopped by Don Juan de Mendoza, sent expressly for this purpose by the Emperor, who was doubtless well acquainted with the Legate's dislike to the Spanish marriage. There were also other political reasons—assigned by his envoy openly—for desiring him, neither to proceed as Legate to England, nor to attempt negotiating with his Imperial Majesty at Brussels about the peace with France, until he received further orders from Rome. Mendoza was very reserved, but he unbosomed himself so far as to say that the fitting time for papal interference in England had not yet arrived; an argument, which Pole confuted by saying that Parliament having been opened on the 5th October, and it being absolutely requisite to discuss the affair of the religion during its first session, he, as an Englishman, knowing the custom of the realm and the national character, declared that the matter was so mature, that unless debated immediately, it would rot like over ripe fruit. His arguments were not considered valid, nor was he allowed to go to Louvain until the 10th of January 1554, from which place he announced his arrival to the Bishop of Arras, and entered Brussels as Legate, on the 20th, being accompanied by the English Ambassadors Thomas Thirlby, Bishop of Norwich, and Sir John Masone. In November 1553, when Cardinal Pole sent his friend Pedro Soto, a Spanish Dominican friar, to the Emperor—whose confessor he had been, and was destined to fill the same post at a later period—he authorised him to inform his Majesty that Pole's opinion had been that the Queen, being of the age she was, should remain single, leaving the succession of the realm to take its own course. This he would have said immediately on her accession, had he been asked; and subsequently, after the stipulation of her marriage with the Prince, knowing it to be unpopular in England, where his Legatine commission relating to spiritual matters alone was already ill-looked on, he could not show himself favourable to it, lest he should additionally impede the original commission assigned him by the Pope. And now, on the 8th February 1554, after the news of Wyatt's rebellion had reached Brussels, the Emperor expressed to Soto the best possible opinion of Pole; and with regard to the marriage, implied that, putting aside his respectf or the Queen, whom he greatly loved, the rebellion did not at all distress him on the score of his own individual interests, as he was induced to negotiate the marriage principally for the sake of religion both in England and the Low Countries, and for the general good of those realms; and that, as nothing was settled, he had sent back to the Prince in Spain, the proxy received for the conclusion of the marriage, though the general tone of the Emperor's conversation did not make it appear that he had renounced the thought of it. At any rate, the Confessor greatly praised the Queen's intention of remaining without a husband, should she see that the spouse of her choice was not to the satisfaction of the Londoners; and he told the Emperor he had reason to congratulate himself on the disturbances having taken place before the Prince's arrival in England, which his Majesty apparently admitted, adding that he did not intend to do anything by force.
Previously, on the 4th February, when Cardinal Pole had his first conference with the Emperor as Legate from Julius III., he offered the Pope's congratulations, and his own, on the marriage. The Cardinal was admitted to an audience on that occasion by the Duke of Savoy and the Bishop of Arras, and found Charles V. 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 utter a word until he seated himself, in which position the Legate made his obeisance and imparted the blessing which the Pope had charged him to give the Emperor in his name several months previously, of which delay nothing was said either by the blesser or the blessed. The Emperor expressed his belief that the fitting moment had not yet arrived for the formal establishment of Catholicism in England; and with regard to peace between himself and Prance, showed that he had more at heart the common weal than his own private wrongs, but rejected the proposals hitherto made. Hereupon Pole asked to be acquainted with his own terms. Nothing whatever was said about the marriage, and then, after presenting Richard Pate, Bishop Designate of Worcester, the audience having lasted nearly an hour, the Legate took leave of the Emperor, and in the course of the following night the Bishop of Norwich received the first news of Wyatt's rebellion. Father Soto, who was with the Emperor on the 8th February, informed him, in Pole's name, that Thirlby was of opinion that the Legate would do well to commence the negotiation for peace by proceeding to treat for it, in Prance, as Pole was ready to do, if the Emperor approved of it. His Majesty replied that he thought it would be better to wait the arrival of the new Nuncio, who was expected daily at Brussels, and would bring the Pope's latest instructions. The Emperor's opinion in favour of delay, which was subsequently confirmed, rather sourly, by his prime minister, the Bishop of Arras, who, like Pole himself, whose junior he was by seventeen years, had also completed his education in the University of Padua, did not deter the Legate from executing the commission of his sovereign. On the 19th February he had his second audience of the Emperor, and after congratulating him on the suppression of Wyatt's rebellion, said that, with his Majesty's good grace, he was on the eve of departure for Prance, to which announcement, as no reply was made, he took the leave for granted.
On the 2nd March, Cardinal Pole was at St. Denis, and on Easter Monday (26th March) departed thence for Fontainebleau, where he arrived on the 29th, accompanied by Cardinal de Chatillon, who took him immediately to King Henry II., by whom he was received most graciously, and from the King's apartments he passed to those of Queen Catherine de' Medici, exhorting her in like manner to perform such good offices in favour of peace between the two crowns, as became her known piety. On that same evening, Pole commenced business with the French prime minister, the Constable Anne de Montmorency, who went to visit him at his lodging, and the Constable's language certainly sounded more pacific than that of Antoine Perre-not de Granvelle, Bishop of Arras, for he at least urged Pole to propose terms of adjustment.
On the 2nd April, the Legate dined with the King, and afterwards discussed leisurely, and at full length, the subject of Pole's mission. Pole told him in detail what he had negotiated with the Emperor and the Bishop of Arras about the peace, adding, that in conformity with the good disposition evinced by King Henry, he now expected him to make such reply to the Emperor's demands as would corroborate his goodwill by deeds. In reply, the King declared, amongst other things, that he entered on the present war under provocation, nor had his success given him reason at present to wish for peace, which he would nevertheless be ready to make, provided he met with reciprocity on the other side, and that fan terms were proposed him. All this the King said very civilly and mildly, adding that between himself and the Emperor there were no such heart-burnings as those which caused his Imperial Majesty and King Francis to challenge each other, and that he, on his part, was ready to form the best possible friendship with the Emperor; for a reply to whose proposal he referred the Legate to the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable. The result was that on the evening of the 3rd April one of the royal secretaries—in the King's name—delivered a response of rather an irritating tenor; nor on the morrow, when Pole took leave of the King, could he obtain any modification of it. The negotiation failed at Fontainebleau, as at Brussels; and on the second day after his arrival at the French Court, the Legate's nephew, Thomas Stafford, who had ostentatiously opposed the Spanish match, presenting himself there, the chances of Pole's increasing in favour with the Emperor on his return diminished, notwithstanding the angry manner in which he dismissed his obtrusive kinsman. In fact, on the 21st of April, when he gave Charles V. an account of the reply received from King Henry, adding that his prolonged stay in Prance might have been injurious, as there were many malcontents there, including his own nephew, the Emperor made answer that he would have done better to remain there, or to go straight to Rome; and with regard to the reasons assigned by the King of France for not continuing their enmity, he said that, in the course of many years, King Francis had clone him fewer and less grievous injuries than those he had received from his son within a much shorter period.
During Cardinal Pole's absence in France, the new Nuncio Girolamo Muzzarelli arrived at Brussels, and although their friendly intercourse is manifested by Pole's letter, written to him from the Lake of Garda on the 6th August 1553, it may be doubted whether Muzzarelli, either whilst Pole was at Fontainebleau, or subsequently, did his best to improve the Legate's position, either with the Emperor or the Bishop of Arras. I gather this from Pole's letter to Cardinal Morone, written from Brussels on the 25th May 1554, from which I learn that, considering himself personally disagreeable to the Emperor, he urged the Pope to recall him. In the same letter, replying to something written by Morone, suggesting that by public and private demonstrations, he should remove the Emperor's suspicions of his disapproval of the Queen's marriage to Prince Philip caused by Pole's silence, and lack of such demonstration of joy as the circumstance required, he admits that whilst at Dillingen from October 1553 until the commencement of 1554, he abstained from speaking on the subject, although it was publicly discussed by everybody, nor did he allude to it in his letters to the Queen, after the marriage was supposed to have been stipulated, both because he did not think his interference in the business would facilitate the revival of the Roman Catholic religion, which was the chief matter he had in hand, as also from unwillingness officiously to volunteer an opinion which had not been demanded of him. But when Thirlby and Masone, at Brussels, acquainted him with the Queen's motives, saying she had accepted the Prince's hand, before his departure for Fontainebleau, Pole, when speaking with the personages of the Imperial Court, never allowed any opportunity to escape him for expressing his goodwill, doing the like by the Queen through messengers and letters; all which demonstrations, made for the purpose of dispelling the Emperor's suspicions, were confirmed by the fact of the expulsion from his presence of Thomas Stafford. Whilst at Dillingen, some months previously, when Stafford in public blamed the Queen for marrying an alien, Pole reproved him, and would not allow of his going to England, a prohibition which, although disregarded, was substantiated by the Legate's refusal to give his nephew any letters of introduction.
All these particulars show that, in the first instance, Pole, as an Englishman, was averse to the marriage, though he at length resigned himself to it, as a necessity. His conduct in this matter throughout was frank and honourable, and although in Graziani's Life of Commendone he is said to have understood that there was a party in England desirous of Pole's marriage with the Queen, and that she herself was not averse to the alliance, as she had asked Commendone whether the Pope could absolve Pole from his deacon's vows, (fn. 8) it is possible that the demand was a political feint suggested to the Queen by her Spanish advisers, or it may perhaps be attributed to female vanity. Although it might have rendered the Emperor suspicious, the inquiry does not prove that Cardinal Pole cither sought the marriage or entertained any such personal expectations, or that he cared in the least to have those of other people justified. (fn. 9)
In his letter of the 25th May to Cardinal Morone, the Legate writes distinctly that the treatment received by him from the Emperor and the Bishop of Arras was such that, short of using the cudgel, it could not be worse, and the authoritative tone adopted by the Imperial Prime Minister is fully confirmed by a ciphered passage in a despatch addressed by the Venetian Ambassador to the Doge and Senate. In August 1554, the Emperor was in the field against France, accompanied by the Bishop of Arras, who had doffed his episcopal habit for military attire; and when Pole sent his auditor, Ormanetto, into the camp with a message to him, the form of reply savoured more of the battle-field than of the Church or the cloister. The Legate was told that by no means was he to think of going to England without permission from the Emperor, and that even were he to ask it during ten thousand years, he must by no means expect it, unless he sent his Majesty the powers lately received from Rome authorizing him to dispose of the Church property which had either been confiscated or bestowed on English laymen. He was required, moreover, to state his intentions respecting the distribution of this property, as thereon depended the quiet or disquiet of the whole country.
The Legate was not on a bed of roses, but he obeyed the Pope's orders, until at length, in November 1554, he had the Imperial permission to revisit his native land after an absence of well nigh a quarter of a century; and of the events which immediately preceded this return I give this copious narrative, as the details of the conclave of 1549–50, with regard to his candidateship, have never hitherto been either fully or fairly represented. It is also somewhat difficult to follow his biographers in their account of the negotiations which commenced on the Lake of Garda on the 7th August 1553, and may be said to have ended at Dover on the 20th November 1554.
The foregoing extracts have been made from Cardinal Pole's Italian correspondence; the first of his Latin letters, in the miscellany above mentioned, was written in the Paduan territory, and apparently in July 1536. It is addressed to Paul III., who created him Cardinal at the close of that year, and in July called Pole to Rome, to sit in the congregation there, appointed by him to reform the Roman Court. This so-called “inter-council” consisted of eight Cardinals, fifteen Prelates, and fifty other men of learning. This may be considered Reginald Pole's first acceptance of any public office, as in his reply it is seen that previous calls from the same quarter had been rejected, and he now inquires, “But what will the King of England think of this journey? Will it not offend him?” This thought harassed Pole, as it was his intention always to render to the King the offices due from a subject to his sovereign, and from a son to his father.
The letter bears no date, but I suppose it immediately preceded his composition of the treatise “De Unitate,” which made the King repudiate Pole either as son or subject; and I merely mention the circumstance to explain the substance of the first Latin letter contained in the transcript of Pole's correspondence, now preserved in St. Mark's Library. Here I must add that, much to my regret, the most diligent search amongst the State Papers at the “Frari” has failed to bring to light the slightest notice of the existence at Venice from the year 1534 to 1536 of any individual styled “Martin de Zornoza, Spanish Consul at Venice” said to have been in close communication with Reginald Pole at that period when Pole's conduct has been styled “base in the extreme” (fn. 10)
Shortly after the despatch of this letter to Rome, the Venetian Ambassador there, wrote to the Doge and Senate that Charles V. and Francis I. were both cajoling King Henry, to whom the Emperor had offered any part of France he pleased, mentioning also the death of the Duke of Richmond; and in November 1536 Badoer also informed the Senate that Paul III. had sent off to England the bull of excommunication, proposed in consistory in December 1535, and which was then suspended in consequence of certain amendments proposed by the Cardinals of the French party, greatly to the Pope's indignation. The despatch of the hull in 1536 was caused by the insurrection in the northern counties, under the guidance of Makerel, Abbot of Barlings, which is generally known by the title of the “Pilgrimage of Grace;” the Pope haying understood first that they were commanded by a Duke (probably a mistake for the Archbishop of York, who, together with the Lords Nevil, Darcy, Lumley, and Latimer, joined the insurrection), and three days later that the rebels had been joined by the King's Lieutenant, the Duke of Norfolk, because the King had broken faith with them. This last piece of news was circulated at Rome on the authority of a letter written from Brussels by Maria of Austria, Queen Dowager of Hungary, governess of the Low Countries. From France the Pope heard that King Henry was negotiating the marriage of the Princess Mary with the Duke of Orleans, who was disinclined towards it, although she was to be declared legitimate by Act of Parliament. Her cousin Pole was now at Borne, and on the 8th December was sent for, together with the other members of the Council committee by the Pope, who informed them that he would, at any rate, hold it, despite the opposition of the Lutherans. This resolve was perhaps confirmed by the receipt of letters from England, dated the 20th November, stating that the rebels, 40,000 in number, were more powerful than ever, and recommending the Pope to send Pole as Legate to England, with money for distribution amongst the poor people, as the affairs of the Church would proceed most prosperously. So on the morning of the 23rd December, in consistory, Paul III. proclaimed Reginald Pole Cardinal; but as within a week it appeared that the good result of the “Pilgrimage of Grace” had been exaggerated, the Pope sent the hat and sword which he had blessed as usual on Christmas Eve, to the King of Scotland, who had offered to march against the King of England with all his forces in favour of the Church, and make a vigorous attack, being always ready to serve the Pope in every way. Pole felt a pang at receiving no congratulations from his own country on this exaltation to the Cardinalate; but when Bragadino, the Venetian Ambassador at Rome, imparted to him those of the Doge and Senate, he consoled himself with the thought that “they were well nigh the voice desired by him from England, as during his long residence at Venice he received so many favours, finding facilities for study such as he certainly could not have found at home,” and enjoying also the friendship of such eminent men, that he could not, in reason, hold these blessings in less account than those for which he was debtor to his birth-place, and thus did he write to Andrea Griti; nor can this fail to remind the reader of Masone's wish expressed long afterwards, “that the whole realm knew him as the Bishop of Norwich and Masone do, and had that opinion of him, as in effect all states of Christendom have.”
The commercial relations of the Republic with England were not materially affected by the change of religion, nor did the excommunication of 1536 cause the seizure at sea by orthodox pirates of malmsey-sack or other Venetian commodities destined for an heretical market. But in May 1545, when the Council was sitting, the Pope's fear lest Cardinal Pole should be carried off from Trent by Lodovico da l'Armi, who was the accredited agent of Henry VIII. in Italy, again reminded the Signory of the disturbance caused to neutral powers by the religious differences between Rome and England. Of the bravo Da l'Armi there are many notices in the State Papers; in the 11th volume of which work (Index, p. 500) it is stated that he was the nephew of Cardinal Campeggio. No authority is given for the assertion, which however is, I think, verified by Dolfi's “Cronologia di Famiglie nobili di Bologna,” where, at p. 66, mention is made of the marriage of the Cardinal's sister Aurelia to Gasparo Da l'Armi. Of the crimes of her son, the murderer Lodovico, and of his execution, there are many details in the present volume, and I think I do not err in saying that a contemporary portrait of him exists in the Academy at Venice in a very fine picture, attributed to Bonifazio, but which I believe is by some other great master. Da l'Armi trusted to escape the doom he so richly deserved through the protection of the sovereign he had so long and unscrupulously served, but at the time of his arrest Henry VIII. was expiring. The King died in his bed, on the 28th January 1547, and his Ambassador was beheaded in public at Venice between the two granite columns on the “ molo ” fronting the sea on the 12th of May following.
The death of Henry VIII. was formally announced by the English Secretary-resident, Edmund Harvel, who, on the 2nd March 1547, entered the College hall, professing to shed tears, styling the King's memory blessed, and extolling his rare virtues and his love for the Signory. The Secretary was confirmed in his post by the Protector; the last despatch from him in the late Mr. Turnbull's Calendar is dated 20th March 1548, and I have now published details of his funeral at Venice on the 7th January 1550, which will account for the non-existence of his letter of recall in the public depositories.
Secretary Harvel was succeeded by Peter Vannes, a Lucchese, of whom the first mention in the Venetian Calendar dates from the month of August 1521, when he was at Bruges with Cardinal Wolsey, being one of his secretaries; and on the same authority, it is seen that he was in Rome on a mission from Henry VIII., in January 1529. At the commencement of the Reformation he held the lucrative post of collector of Peter's pence, which was then abolished, and he then seems to have become a zealous reformer; but when the collectorship was restored he canvassed for it very warmly, and in the autumn or 1555 complained of not being supported by Cardinal Pole, who replied, that although he had not interfered in the re-appointment of the collectorship, it certainly did not seem to him the reward best suited to Vannes' apostasy.
The first mention in the Foreign Calendar of his being in Venice, is dated 9th November 1550. A letter from the Signory to the Venetian Ambassador, printed in this present volume, shows that Vannes had his first audience of the College on the 8th August 1550; so it may be inferred that part of his despatches from Venice no longer exist, and amongst them there will probably have been some account of rude treatment received by him from Sir Robert Stafford, about which the Chiefs of the Ten wrote to Daniel Barbaro, desiring him to inform the Lords of the Council that for this insult to the Lucchese apostate, Cardinal Pole's nephew had been duly reprimanded.
The ambassador who represented the Republic of Venice in England at this period, enjoyed a great reputation for learning and statesmanship, and I have therefore extracted largely from the report of his mission, made by him to the Senate, in the month of May 1551, and have given a wood-cut of the armorial bearings of the Barbaro family, showing that to this day his descendants quarter the rose of England, in virtue of a patent given him by Edward VI.
In my preface to the 3rd volume of the Venetian Calendar (p. xxxix), I recorded the fact that in March 1869, Signor Luigi Pasini deposited at the Record Office a complete key to the cipher contained in the despatches of Giovanni Michiel, from March 1555 to January 1557, a self-imposed task, which was much facilitated by the photographs of the cipher, executed for Her Majesty's Government at the suggestion of Sir Thomas Hardy in 1865. Subsequently, Signor Pasini deciphered the despatches of Michiel's successor in England—Michiel Surian—from March 1557 to July in the same year, and quite recently he also made a key to the ciphered portions of despatches addressed to the Signory in the year 1554, by Marc' Antonio Damula, Venetian Ambassador at Brussels, and by his colleague, Giovanni Capello, in Prance. These valuable labours have enabled me in this present volume to publish such parts of then correspondence as relate, directly or indirectly, to England, and of which I will here give a few paragraphs, commencing with the French views of things, as transmitted by Capello, who wrote in May that the marriage of Prince Philip and Queen Mary was to be consummated at Bruges, whither the Emperor was going to receive them; which Capello doubted, because as the Queen scarcely ventured to go out of London, it could not be supposed she would quit the country, as fresh insurrections were anticipated; the Emperor's move towards Bruges being rather for the purpose of supporting his interests in England, and rendering the Queen as secure as he could. It was also said that Gardiner was in favour of daily executions, and that the Princess Elizabeth had incurred some risk of being included amongst the victims, but that she was then more at liberty, as the Emperor, to secure the crown of England for the House of Austria, had determined to marry her to the Archduke Ferdinand, whilst Courtenay was to be disposed of on the scaffold; the like doom being reserved for Cardinal Pole, in case he dared show himself in England.
From Paolo Tiepolo, Capello's colleague at the Court of the King of the Romans, we learn that, although Archduke Maximilian was titular King of Bohemia, his younger brother, Ferdinand, inhabited the royal castle at Prague, and had governed the country in his father's name ever since the year 1547, when only 18 years old. This reversion of the right of primogeniture, proceeded possibly from Maximilian's Lutheran bias, which might have inconveniently reminded the turbulent Bohemians of John Huss, and Jerome of Prague. Archduke Ferdinand, on the contrary, was extremely orthodox, and it is probable that at a later period, by reason of his adherence to the old religion, and for other causes, Charles V. proposed marrying him to Elizabeth Tudor in order to retain England as a dependency of the house of Austria and the Church of Rome; but the intelligence given by the Constable, Montmorency, to Capello in May 1554, seems premature, as it is not confirmed from Brussels until June of the following year. In 1554, the first Austrian suitor of the presumptive heiress of England was unmarried; but, already, in the year 1548, when only 19, immediately after assuming the regency of Bohemia, Archduke Ferdinand formed an illicit connexion with the beautiful Filippina Welser, who bore him a large family, and became his Morganatic wife.
The Emperor does not seem either in 1554 or 1555 to have given himself much trouble to reconcile Elizabeth Tudor to expatriation; but she would have found a sumptuous court at Prague, the King of the Romans supplying his favourite son largely with money, which he spent joyously, delighting in every sort of pastime. His Venetian biographer says, “he was high-spirited and lusty” (gagliardo), “and that he lived in great state, being served by gentleman in waiting, pages, trumpeters, and a bodyguard; and keeping a grand stable with the necessary officials; his magnificence and generosity being no less notorious than his Catholicism.”
Such was the Archduke Ferdinand, of whom but little is known, save through the Venetian ambassadors, whose despatches also in 1559 and 1567 contain many curious notices about negotiations for the marriage of his younger brother Archduke Charles to Elizabeth after she had become Queen of England. But to return to her perilous condition in 1554. Damula wrote from Brussels in June of that year, that the fear of rebellion was so great in London that the Queen had garrisoned it with a military force of 4,000 men, having sent Elizabeth under custody to Windsor, where she in fact passed the night of the 21st May 1554, on her way from the Tower to confinement at Woodstock. As this information proves to be true, we may also give credit to what Damula writes under the same date (1st June 1554), about a misunderstanding between Gardiner and the Secretary of State, Sir William Petre.
In reply to Cardinal Pole's message to Queen Mary, offering to send one of his attendants with compliments on her marriage, she said he was at liberty to do so, but that the envoy must not be a churchman. And in this second letter (7th June 1554, cipher), the determination of the Bishop of Arras to reject peace with France is mentioned thus: Cardinal Pole communicated the Emperor's reply about an adjustment between the two crowns, to the Nuncio in France, and the King, in reply, having expressed approval of Queen Mary's mediation, she desired Masone to ascertain the Emperor's opinion on the subject; so he applied to the Bishop of Arras, whose answer purported that peace was impossible, as the French never kept their promises. And when Masone asked whether the Emperor had any wish to make peace, Arras said, “Yes, provided it he a sound one.” The ambassador then inquired, “How can a peace be made if not treated, and how can it be treated, unless consent be given, and arrangements made?” The Bishop rejoined, That first of all, some knowledge must be obtained of the will of the French. Whereupon Masone continued, That the knowledge manifested itself very clearly through the words about the peace uttered spontaneously by King Henry to Dr. Wotton, and that he (Masone) considered the peace desirable, both for the Emperor and for England, assigning as a reason, that the Prince was a new plant, planted in the realm of England by his father, who, if he wished the plant to bear fruit, must let the soil rest quiet awhile, as otherwise, if it were harassed at this commencement, there would be a doubt of his receiving benefit from the fruit. Granvelle was still unconvinced, and declared that the greater the demonstration made by the French in favour of peace, the less did they really wish for it; and that not only must they themselves propose terms, but also the restitution of many things. Masone maintained that these terms might be treated at a conference between commissioners from the parties, and that should no agreement ensue, nothing but words would be lost, and the Emperor would thus show that he was not averse to peace. The Bishop replied, “Well, we are determined, and no longer believe the French, who commenced the war whilst we were at peace:” and when Masone urged him to speak about this to the Emperor, he said he would do so, and that possibly when the two Sovereigns were in the field with their armies, they might then — more to their honour — talk of peace, propose terms, and perhaps conclude them, as had been the case theretofore.
In the meanwhile, the Queen of England, although she wished for the peace, would not say a word about it to the most Christian King until the receipt of the order from Brussels, though immediately on the arrival of her consort, she would discuss the matter with him, in virtue of an article of the marriage contract, whereby the Prince promised that England would neither directly nor indirectly take part in the war against the most Christian King, but endeavour strictly to observe the peace then existing between France and England, as also the conventions formerly stipulated between the two countries, and never give cause for infringing or altering them.
I have given the whole of this ciphered despatch because its contents are not to be found in the Eoreign Calendar, 1553–1558, although it contains some 17 of Masone's despatches between the 3rd May and 2nd August 1554. This fact alone would serve to show the value of Signor Pasini's decipher.
A week later, after mentioning incidentally the contemptuous treatment received by Pole from the Bishop of Arras, who had never once been to visit him after the Cardinal's return from France, Damula details the preparations which the Emperor was making for the campaign, and says that he was sending Queen Mary a present of some very beautiful tapestry, representing his conquest of Tunis in 1535, and a quantity of jewels; and that Bonna Sforza, Queen Dowager of Poland, had bought for her an organ at Antwerp, at a cost of 3,000 crowns, besides goldsmith's work, worth double that amount; of which presents this is the first we hear, but the Emperor's tapestries are mentioned in Mr. Turnbull's Calendar, as having been sent from Brussels on the 19th June. Queen Bonna's present was purchased in August, and had for its object, to obtain for herself the Regency of Naples.
Cardinal Pole continued to reside at an abbey near Brussels, the name of which, in Italian manuscripts of the time, is written “Dillingan;” but on hearing that the Emperor was about to take the field, he went into Brussels, and through the Nuncio, Muzzarelli, informed the Bishop of Arras that he should remain there until he received further orders from Rome, and that he wished to know whether the Emperor had any commands to give him. The Bishop said he would make the inquiry, nor did he raise any objection to Cardinal Pole's residence at Brussels, about which the Legate had some doubts, remembering what had been said to him on the subject when he returned from France. A few days later, Granvelle told Muzzarelli that the Emperor consented to whatever pleased the Pope, giving permission to the Cardinal to remain where he was, and saying that he, Granvelle, would visit Pole before the Emperor's departure, having omitted to do so hitherto, as it was necessary to act with reserve in this matter on account of the French. The visit was paid, the Bishop saying that the Emperor would willingly have been accompanied by Pole, but that he was compelled to join the camp suddenly; and then he added that the Emperor, with all his realms, including Peru, was occasionally pinched for money, but that King Henry, who had only one kingdom, being already obliged to sell the Church plate, there was not much to fear from his military movements.
On the night of the 21st July, a messenger from Queen Mary arrived at Brussels with the news of King Philip's arrival in England, which probably reached the Emperor at Charleroi; and on the 28th Damula writes, with regard to Prince Philip's title of King of Naples, that the Emperor “gave it him at Augsburg (sic), when the Prince went thither from Italy.” This intelligence is given on the authority of a lady of the Court, and probably alludes to Philip's meeting with his father at Brussels in 1548, in which year the Emperor held a Diet at Augsburg, but Prince Philip was not present at it; and by a subsequent letter dated 4th August, it seems more probable that the investiture was not of earlier date than the 4th June 1554, when the Emperor consigned it for conveyance to England, to the Regent Figueroa, who also took charge of the tapestry for Queen Mary, as may be seen in the Foreign Calendar, dated Brussels, June 20th, 1554, p. 99. At the beginning of August, Cardinal Pole's Auditor, Ormanetto, returned from Rome, bringing him full powers from the Pope either to remain at Brussels or proceed to England; but as Pole knew that Queen Mary and her ministers would be entirely guided in this matter by the Emperor, he sent Ormanetto to the camp, with orders to represent how much it was for his Majesty's interest in England, as it would render the people much more obedient to the Crown than they were whilst professing a creed at variance with that of their Sovereign. But the Emperor still forbad the Legate's departure. Later in the month we hear of presents of jewels sent by Queen Mary to the Emperor and his sisters, the Queens Dowagers of Hungary and Erance, and of a very beautiful emerald for the Duchess of Lorraine.
The subsequent events, which at length obtained permission from the Emperor for the Legate to perform his official duties in England, may be read in his own correspondence; and the Venetian news of England in the year 1554 closes with a letter from the Doge and Senate to the Ambassador Michiel, dated 28th December, desiring him to congratulate the King and Queen, the Legate, and the Chancellor, on the prosperous course of religious affairs in England, to the honour and exaltation of the Christian Church, of which they profess themselves the most obedient children.
In former volumes of my Calendar of the Venetian Papers, I have made frequent allusions to the unavoidable necessity of giving in Appendices abstracts of such documents as should be discovered after my volume was printed, either in corroboration or emendation of former entries, and of this the Appendix to the present volume contains a striking instance.
The readers of these calendars must have remarked the great mass of information relative to England which has been derived from the Diaries of Marin Sanuto, whose veracity may be tested and confirmed by comparison between his extracts from the original despatches of Sebastian Giustinian and Gasparo Contarini, as well as the private letter books of those statesmen, now preserved in St. Mark's Library. Since the publication of my last volume, I have been enabled to analyze, in like manner, Sanuto's calendars of the despatches transmitted from France (relating to Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn at the time of their trip to Calais in October 1532), by Giovanni Antonio Venier, whose original letter-book has been recently discovered in the Venetian Archives, but in no one instance does the present comparison produce the same result.
For instance, in the fourth volume of the Venetian Calendar, p. 361 (No. 832) I expressed my doubt whether the prohibition which prevented Venier from attending the conference between King Henry and King Francis, proceeded from the Papal Nuncio and the Imperial Ambassador, by printing Sanuto's text in a foot-note; and now that Venier's letter-book has come to light, it appears that so far from countenancing the affront in any way, those two diplomatists resented it intensely. In this same letter (p. 363, line 23, English translation), at the close of the paragraph assigning the reason for the non-celebration at Calais of Anne Boleyn's marriage, Sanuto, in his original Diaries (vol. 57, p. 105, verso), has entirely omitted the following words contained in the letter-book:—
“Et sono essi Inglesi rimasti molto contenti ch' el non sia sequito.”
I have also re-translated the last words of the letter, that they may be compared with the first translation and with the original paragraph already printed at p. 364, vol. IV., Venetian Calendar; and by this analysis it will be seen that, although Sanuto may have misunderstood one clause and omitted another, the most important part of his transcript, concerning the intention of King Francis to join Henry VIII., in renouncing the Church of Rome, corresponds nearly word for word with the holograph minute of the despatch; and were it possible to compare each transcript in the 58 folio volumes with the originals, my belief is that they would all corroborate the diarist's good faith and exactness.
I have also translated some other letters of Venier and his colleagues in France, because they complete the details of the Court of Francis I. given by Sir Francis Bryan, from whom, in the year 1531, only four letters have been printed in the eighth volume of “State Papers;” nor do they make any allusion to his recall, attributed by Venier to the haughty manner in which he negotiated with the French Government. One of Bryan's most amusing letters alludes to the entry into Paris of Queen Eleanor of Austria on the 16th March, but his details of the pageant limit themselves to gallant gossip about Mademoiselle d'Heilly, alias Anne de Pisseleu (afterwards Duchess d'Etampes), the King's mistress, concerning whom, and the manner in which Francis I. treated his Austrian bride on the day of the first entertainment given her by the City of Paris, Bryan wrote to Henry VIII. in cipher, “He [King Francis] havyng knowlege where Hely, and dyverse other ladys and gentylwomen stode, toke wyth Hym the Admyrall and the Cardynall of Lorayne, and they, fyndyng thes gentylwomen in the said howse, the French Kyng toke Hely and sett hyr before Hym in a opyn wyndow, and ther stode devysing with hyr 2 long howrys in the syght and face of all the peple, whych was not a lytyll marvelyd at of the beholders. Now I have shewyd you his manner and fassyon, juge your Hyghness what shall plese you.”
As Sir Francis Bryan had a seat at the banquet, given in the Parliament House in honour of Queen Eleanor's entry, I have given the Venetian Ambassador's account of it, as also of her coronation at St. Denis, together with particulars of the coming from Constantinople to Paris of Doge Gritti's grandson to claim a sum of money due to him from Francis I., the payment of which was unduly delayed because Bryan supposed it to be a subsidy for Sultan Solyman.
The first entries in the present Appendix serve to illustrate the commission given by Doge Andrea Contarini to Leonardo Dandolo, and which was printed in the last Appendix, showing that the Republic wished to engage Sir John Hawkwood and the English company.
That document was discovered in a volume labelled “Sindicati” and in July 1872 Signor Luigi Pasini informed me that amongst the various State papers restored to the Venetian Archives by the Austrian Government, was a series of Acts passed by the Senate in the year 1376. On inspection I found full details of all the circumstances connected with the “Sindicato” and showing that a fortnight before its date, another Venetian nobleman, Nicolò Morosini, had in like manner been sent to treat with the renowned English Condottiere, that he and his company of St. George might defend the territories of Ceneda and Treviso against the hostilities of Leopold Duke of Austria.
The instructions addressed to Nicolò Morosini are dated from the 24th to the 27th May 1376; and as in the following month of June Sir John Hawkwood contracted to serve the Republic of Florence for two months with 800 spears and 500 mounted bowmen, (fn. 11) his negotiations with the Venetians from the 8th June to the 10th November 1376 imply that his dealings were double; and this may form some apology for the sudden manner in which Ncolò Morosini terminated them.
By comparing the memorandum in the “Commemoriali” (fn. 12) with these present acts of the Senate, it may be inferred that towards the latter end of May 1376 Sir John Hawkwood renounced the service of Pope Gregory XI., making a truce with the community of Bologna, and to guarantee its observance agreed to send his own son Thomas (of whom this is the first notice I find, his name not being recorded in Richard Gough's biography of Hawkwood), as also the sons of Giovanni Tornabuoni and John Briz (sic), which last surname was probably either Bridge or Price. It had at first been proposed that the hostages were to be given in charge to Doge Andrea Contarini, but as the consignment would have been illegal the clause was altered thus, “Dominus Dux Venetiarum et suum consilium;” and as the laws of Venice forbad the constrained detention there of any but criminals, it was then suggested that the youths (isti pueri) Thomas Hawkwood, Philip Tornabuoni, and Lawrence Briz, should be given in charge to honest men (bonœ personœ), of whom there were many there, both natives and aliens, or else be sent to Treviso. Whilst these proposals were being made, Sir John Hawkwood and the company of St. George had also three delegates in Venice, but they made such extravagant demands that the Senate refused compliance, and they were accompanied back to Hawkwood's head-quarters at Faenza by Leonardo Dandolo, who there found his colleague Morosini, with whom he was desired to act, “quia est de factis istis plene informatus”
The sum offered by the Venetians to Hawkwood for four months military service, to be performed by from 800 to 1,000 spears, and from 200 to 700 archers, was from 100,000 ducats to 220,000 ducats, in addition to which 10,000 ducats were to be disbursed for himself and his staff (Capitaneo et suis magnis); (fn. 13) and the College also inserted an article in Dandolo's commission complimentary to the soldiers of England thus, “Et in omni casu quo ambaxr. noster obtineat intentionem procuret quod habemus quam plures Anglicos poterit, et quam pautiores Teutonicos et Ytalianos poterit, pro meliori agendorum nostrorum.”
Leonardo Dandolo's first letter from Faenza, dated 17th June, showed that he and his colleague Morosini had not much hope of making the desired agreement, and in reply the Senate ordered them, if they found it impossible, to recruit elsewhere. Thus was it done, endeavours being made to induce Hawkwood to take the command of troops not enrolled in his own company. On the 8th July Dandolo was recalled, his colleague remaining at Hawkwood's head-quarters, and his negotiations being apparently so successful, that on the 21st October 1576 Doge Andrea Contarini wrote to the Republic's ally, Francesco da Carrara, the Lord of Padua, telling him that during the last few days Hawkwood twice or thrice “nos fecit requiri et rogari de essendo ad servitium nostrum,” and that it would be well for the Paduan contingent (with which Carrara was bound to supply the League) to be furnished by the English Company, “Quia plus valerent lance mille de istis, quam mille Vc. de “aliis;” but on the 27th October the Doge and Senate agreed to a truce with the Dukes of Austria, and on the 10th of November desired Morosini to make this announcement to Sir John Hawkwood, and to take leave.
As minute particulars of the dealings of Italian Potentates with Sir John Hawkwood are of rare occurence, I have printed the above-mentioned acts of the Senate in full, and can only add, that if in June and July, when already bound to the Florentines, the English Company was not free to treat with the Venetians, yet may it be inferred from the abrupt close of the negotiations that both parties understood each other, and made or unmade contracts according to their need.
For assistance in my search for the materials of this volume, I am as usual indebted to many friends here on the spot, as also to Mr. R. E. G. Kirk for revision of the proof sheets in England, and for his methodical arrangement of the Index.