Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1877.
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The text of this the sixth volume of the Calendar of Venetian State Papers extends from the commencement of the year 1555 to the end of the reign of Queen Mary. It professes merely to record events connected with the political history of England during that period, yet it also illustrates the characters of the contemporary sovereigns and prime ministers, whose individual sentiments are expressed in their own words, a thing of very rare occurrence. I have therefore availed myself largely of the despatches of the Venetian ambassadors, which have supplied me with abundant materials not elsewhere to be gathered, the greater part of them having never been published either in the original Italian or in any other language. Those of Bernardo Navagero are especially valuable, because they describe the Court of Rome at a time when Papal supremacy was acknowledged in England, although the reigning Pontiff not only “deprived” her King of all his crowns, but waged open war upon him; and a more convincing proof of the intensity of Queen Mary's religious sentiments cannot be afforded than the patient resignation with which she, endured the injuries and insults heaped by her spiritual Father on a consort she so dearly loved. The despatches of the Venetian ambassador at the court of Henry II. are also important, as they serve to elucidate the policy of that monarch, and the hostilities between King Philip and France, which were signalized by the rout of St. Quentin and the loss of Calais.
On the 23rd of May 1555 the Neapolitan Giovanni Pietro Caraffa, Cardinal Archbishop of Naples, was elected Pope, and took the name of Paul IV. In his 38th year, then being Bishop of Chieti, he had been sent by Leo X. as Nuncio to England, chiefly to collect Peter's pence. (fn. 1) He arrived there in the spring of 1514, and from that time until early in 1516 he was intimate with Archbishop Warham, Sir Thomas More, and Ammonius. He also corresponded with Erasmus, whom he encouraged to edit the Epistles of St. Jerome; but in August 1558 “in the holy congregation of the Inquisition,” as we are informed on English authority, Pope Paul IV. prohibited the sale or purchase of all copies of St. Jerome's works which contained any annotations or epistles of Erasmus, and of all other works wherein Erasmus had written anything upon St. Jerome. (fn. 2) This information was addressed to Queen Mary from Rome, three months before her death, by Sir Edward Carne, concerning whom the Pope, mindful of his own residence in England, said to Navagero, on the 8th May 1557, that “for a native of those regions he was not presumptuous, and very intelligent.” On the same occasion, a month before the defiance sent by Queen Mary to the King of France, when discussing the general character of Carne's compatriots, and the Spanish rule, the Pope continued, “We are indeed of opinion that England will be glad to remain at peace, for the English are not very easily managed, (fn. 3) and we cannot believe that they will rest under the Spanish yoke; neither is the realm altogether quiet. There is moreover much to do on account of their [religious?] opinions, and should the worst come to the worst, by an insurrection in the country, the King of France will find a powerful ally in Scotland, and the Scots, who are mostly a wild race (selvatici), would joyfully invade England in the hope of plunder.”
The precise moment of the departure of the Bishop of Chieti from England is unknown, but he probably presented himself as nuncio to King Charles of Spain at Brussels in January 1516. On his arrival in the Low Countries his friend Erasmus (whose dedication of St. Jerome seems to have been accepted by Leo X. in the summer of 1515) was apparently persecuted by certain theologians, “sanctioned by the Pope and the King, but he dispersed the cloud by visiting Louvain, and partly by the favour of the nobles, and especially of the Bishop of Chieti.” (fn. 4) This circumstance warrants a belief that down to that time Caraffa had tolerated liberal opinions in religion, and it may also be said, considering the nature of the times, that Erasmus was fortunate in finding a champion who, amongst the many charges brought against him, was never accused of heterodoxy.
In June 1517, (fn. 5) Erasmus wrote to Sir Thomas More, from Antwerp, that he had supped with the Bishop of Chieti, who was canvassing to accompany Prince Charles into Spain, and from what he himself told the Venetian ambassador, Navagero, on the 12th October 1556, it may be inferred that his wish was granted him, although on the 23rd August 1517, Erasmus wrote to the Lutheran Renano (the corrector of the press of Froben's printing house at Basle), from Louvain, that the Bishop of Chieti, in the hope of making his fortune, had consumed his own substance and that of his friends, and had been accused to the King, by means of memorials (litterulis) and memoranda (notulis), but that Caraffa was not yet aware of this, nor did Erasmus dare communicate it to him, from fear of compromising his intelligencers.
In the account, dated 29th September 1517, given to Henry VIII. by Spinelly, of the landing in Spain of King Charles, there is a list of the great personages who accompanied him, but it does not include the name of the ex-collector of “Peter's pence.”
In subsequent letters, however, Spinelly apparently alludes to him, though not by name, as “the Pope's Nuncio;” (fn. 6) and in the Venetian ambassador's description of King Charles's entry into Valladolid on the evening of the 18th November 1517, (fn. 7) it is stated that “after the heralds came the ambassadors of the most Serene King of England, (fn. 8) between whom was a Nuncio of the High Pontiff; and then came the Cardinal of Tortosa and the Imperial ambassador, and betwixt them was the other Papal Nuncio; they being followed immediately by the King Catholic alone.” Of these two nuncios the first mentioned was possibly the nuncio accredited to Ferdinand the Catholic, and who remained in Spain after that King's death on the 23rd January 1516, having subsequently received fresh credentials to King Charles' Viceroy or Regent, Cardinal Ximenes, who died on the 8th November 1517. The second was undoubtedly Caraffa. On the King's entry into Valladolid, the nuncio accredited to him would of course take precedence of the one who had resided with his predecessor.
“Dom Francesco Chieregato has arrived with the title of the Pope's commissary, to investigate about the Nuncio there in Spain [Caraffa?] from his Holiness, who has little trust in him, from his having become quite a Spaniard. Chieregato hopes the Pope will send to him, Chieregato, the title of nuncio.
“The two English Ambassadors (fn. 9) who were there took leave of the King four days ago, to return home. They departed, having received good presents, and Cornaro accompanied them outside the town. On St. John's day [27th December] they dined with Cornaro, who gave the banquet to celebrate the knighthood conferred on him, and for the honour of our Signory it was a very sumptuous one; the Pope's Nuncio [Caraffa?] was there, and the ambassadors from France, from the Emperor, and from Genoa, and the Catholic King's silversmith, (fn. 10) M. de Chievres, was to have come, but remained at home from gout, and sent some of his gentlemen.”
“On the 12th a solemn mass was celebrated, the Pope's Nuncio [Caraffa?] and the ambassadors from France and England being present at it, nor were any others invited, and King Charles (quel Re) swore to the articles stipulated between the most Christian King and the King of England, to which his Catholic Majesty has become a party.” (fn. 11)
This is the last mention by Cornaro of the anonymous nuncio in Spain, and as, in date of 22nd March 1519, the same ambassador narrates conversations “with the Pope's nuncio Domino Francesco Chieregato,” it may be assumed that the Bishop of Chieti took leave of the future Emperor at Barcelona in February 1519. This conjecture is supported by the statement of Panvinio, that whilst in Spain the Bishop of Chieti became the great friend of Adrian Florent, who was elected Pope on the 9th January 1522. To form a lasting friendship the term of two years and a half does not seem more than sufficient.
In a conversation with the Venetian Ambassador, in October 1556 (p. 701), Paul IV. alleged that he quitted Spain in disgust; but if that were the case it is improbable that the Emperor's ex-tutor and staunch adherent, Pope Adrian, would in 1522 have desired Caraffa to come to Rome that he might help him to reform the Church, the Pope being also expected to give him the red hat; (fn. 12) still less on dismissing him would the King Catholic have conferred on him the archbishopric of Brindisi in 1518 or 1519, as asserted by Ughelli and Carraciolo. (fn. 13)
Here I must remark that as we are warranted in disbelieving this allegation of Paul IV., so must we refuse credit to the many other serious charges brought by that Pope against Charles V.; and as the Cardinal of Compostella told Paul IV. to his face (p. 542) that his violence was said to be assumed, so may posterity perhaps infer that from pretence his Holiness proceeded to falsehood.
The present volume commences with congratulations to Queen Mary from the Doge of Venice on the return of England to the Roman Catholic faith. On the 12th March, Giovanni Michiel, the Venetian ambassador, gives the first news of the Duke of Alva and Ruy Gomez being in England, and of King Philip's having sent for William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, from his country seat, desiring him to cross the Channel to superintend the fortification of Guisnes, and to give advice to the Deputy at Calais, Lord Wentworth, whose youth and inexperience might encourage the French to attack those places, should the Queen's confinement terminate inauspiciously. On the same day Cardinal Pole wrote from London to Pope Julius III. recommending three ambassadors going to Rome from England, Lord Montague, the Bishop of Ely, and Sir Edward Carne. Julius III. died on the 23rd March 1555, and was succeeded by Marcello II., who lived only 22 days, so that the obedience of England to the Apostolic See was rendered by them to Pope Paul IV., whose supremacy, during the Queen's lifetime, was thenceforth acknowledged by the statutes of the realm.
At the time of the appointment of the English embassy to Rome, a Lutheran demonstration took place at Mastricht, caused by the Emperor's gift of a number of persons convicted of heresy to Antonio Doria, as oarsmen for his galleys. Doria sent an agent to receive them, and when passing through Mastricht with his charge the populace stoned him, and 60 of the slaves made their escape. (fn. 14)
Whilst the Flemings at Mastricht were showing their abhorrence of persecution for religious opinions, the Norfolk peasantry rose in arms to save the ex-bishop of Lincoln from the stake, and simultaneously Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, wrote from Fodringham Castle to King Philip asking his protection, which he could scarcely hope to secure after the discovery of the Suffolk plot to march upon London and dethrone the Queen and her consort. In April, however, he was released, and at the end of the month Elizabeth Tudor arrived at Hampton Court, where the Queen then resided, from her prison at Woodstock. She was accompanied by three or four female attendants and the like number of gentlemen.
It is stated by Mr. Froude (fn. 15) that “on an evening in “the beginning of July, Lady Clarence, Mary's favourite attendant, brought a message that the Queen was expecting her sister in her room. The Princess was led across the garden in the dusk, and introduced by a back staircase into the royal apartments.” The same title “Lady Clarence” is used twice previously at p. 118 in the same volume, somewhat to the disparagement of its local tints, by spoiling the effect of the “holy wafer” and the “Veni, Creator;” and the author's fellow historian styles the same personage “Lady Clarence”, “Mrs. Clarencieux,” and “the Queen's old maid.” (fn. 16) I cannot but maintain that the Venetian “Report” of Giovanni Michiel, although pronounced to be “most inaccurate,” (fn. 17) serves at least in one instance to enlighten Queen Mary's English biographers. It proves that her Majesty's “Mistress of the Robes” was neither “Lady,” nor “Mrs. Clarencieux,” nor yet an “old maid.” (fn. 18) Her maiden name was Katharine Pole, and as she was great granddaughter and representative, by the mother's side, of George Plantagenet, who is supposed to have been drowned in a butt of malmsey in the Tower, she therefore “by courtesy” bore the title of “Clarence.” Her father Henry Pole had been beheaded by Henry VIII. on the 29th January 1539, leaving two daughters, his coheirs, the nieces of the Cardinal Legate; Katharine married Francis de Hastings, second Earl of Huntingdon, and her sister Winifred married first Sir Thomas Hastings, Lord Huntingdon's younger brother, and secondly Sir Thomas Barrington. I give these tedious details lest the charge of “extreme inaccuracy” may prejudice my readers against the epistolary correspondence of Michiel, whose exactness as a letter-writer may be further tested.
On the 29th April 1555, Michiel announced that on that day or on the morrow Elizabeth Tudor was to arrive at Hampton Court from Woodstock; and on the following 6th May (p. 61) he informed the Doge and Senate that when she appeared she was neither met nor received by anyone, but was placed in the apartment lately inhabited by the Duke of Alva, “where she lives in retirement, not having been seen by any one, save once or twice by their Majesties, by private stairs.” Now Michiel's critic asserts that the Queen's first meeting with Elizabeth after her release from Woodstock took place on “an evening in the beginning of July;” nor is this disparity of date immaterial, as it enables the reader to compare the “accuracy” of a contemporary intelligencer with that of one whose news is given three centuries after date. I may add that my extracts from Michiel's report were made from a copy transcribed by a Venetian nobleman who was ambassador extraordinary to James I. in 1610, and who died Doge of Venice on the 6th December 1624; and the following words in it, “Miseressa Clarentia sua Cameriera,” (fn. 19) enable me to correct the ludicrous titles conferred by modern historians on the chief lady of Queen Mary's Court. (fn. 20)
On the 6th May 1555 Michiel writes that news had reached London of the election of Pope Marcello; also that Ferrante Gonzaga having refused to come to England, and it being necessary to appoint a President of the Council there, Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, Bishop of Arras, the Emperor's prime minister, would therefore assume that post. The appointment, however, did not take place, and from several entries in the fifth volume of the Venetian Calendar, especially in date of 22d April and 4th July 1554, there is reason to believe that Cardinal Pole, who was then treated with asperity by the Bishop of Arras in Flanders, did not much wish for his official fellowship in England.
Preparations were now making for the Conference at Marck, a village in the Calais Pale, to negotiate peace between the Emperor and the King of France, under the immediate auspices of Queen Mary, against whom there was circulated in London an abusive “Dialogue” in the English tongue, attributed to the Queen's Italian master, Giovanni Battista Castiglione, a Piedmontese. (fn. 21)
In this Conference, Cardinal Pole represented the Pope, and the Bishop of Arras was the Emperor's chief commissioner. At its fruitless close the Legate heard of the election of Paul IV., and wrote immediately to congratulate him on his elevation, inquiring whether he was still to follow the instructions he had received from his Holiness' predecessors Julius III. and Marcello II. In France the result of this election had been foreseen, and King Henry II. told the ambassador Soranzo that the Pope had intercepted a letter from the Imperial ambassador at Rome to a Cardinal his confidant in conclave, intimating to him that the Imperial party were not in any way to favour Caraffa, but if they were compelled to desert the Emperor's nominees, they were then to support the Cardinal of Ferrara, or any other Cardinal of the French faction. At Brussels the Emperor's courtiers asserted that his Majesty was well aware of the new Pope's aversion to him on account of the Viceroy of Naples having for several years delayed giving him possession of the archbishopric of that city, but he believed that by promoting the interests of the Pope's kinsfolk in the Neapolitan territory, it would be in his power to overcome the enmity they had hitherto borne to him.
A few days afterwards, when the Papal Nuncio formally announced the Pope's election, the Emperor affably remarked that when he was a youth in his fourteeuth year, Caraffa, then on his way to England, presented himself to the Lady Margaret, Governess of the Low Countries, either at Mechlin or Brussels, and sang mass, which, though forty years had elapsed, the Emperor still remembered; expressing a hope that the devout manner in which Caraffa performed that ceremony might foreshadow the policy to be adopted by him during his pontificate.
On the 6th of June, when Michiel went to Hampton Court to condole with King Philip on the death of his demented grandmother, the King told him he had that day received the news of the election of the Cardinal of Naples as Pope. The ambassador remarks that by the expression of the King's countenance “he did not evince “much pleasure at this.” On the same day Michiel saw the Queen viewing the procession to chapel from a casement, according to her daily custom. She was expecting her confinement in the course of the week, but the bedchamber women were of a contrary opinion, and they proved to be right, for three weeks later the Queen's pains were declared not to be those of parturition, and Sir George Harper and another man of quality were sent to the Tower for publicly and coarsely ridiculing them. Martial law was administered in London by Lord Pembroke; the printed works of Luther, Tindal, Miles Coverdale, and Cranmer were called in under penalty, and the usual city pageant on St. John's eve, commonly called “the setting of the midsummer watches,” was suppressed. Simultaneously at Brussels, when Michiel's colleague Badoer expressed to the Emperor the Signory's good wishes for the Queen's delivery, he returned thanks, and stated that the news received there of its fulfilment was premature; and that the conclusion of the peace failed by fault of the French, whose demands were tantamount to stamping on his throat, a conceit which he illustrated by placing his right hand on his neck. As may be supposed, the King of France was amused at the disappointment of King Philip and his father, and said to the ambassador Soranzo, with regard to the negotiations for peace, that Cardinal Pole had not yet spoken to the Queen “because she was in retirement on account of her pregnancy;” adding with a laugh, “I know not whether she be or be not pregnant.”
At length, on the 5th of August, Michiel announced to the Signory that the Court had removed to Oatlands, both for the purpose of cleansing Hampton Court, which was in a very filthy state. (fn. 22) It was also desirable no longer to keep the country in the suspense caused by the public processions for the Queen's safe delivery, and that the Queen should resume business, her retirement having been so close that she merely saw the ladies of the Court, who were in very great number, all the female nobility of England having flocked thither from every part of the kingdom, so that with great difficulty could Hampton Court contain them, although it was, according to the ambassador, “one of the largest palaces that can be seen here or elsewhere.” Thus also the Queen economised by giving permission to the greater part of the ladies to return to their homes under pretence of limited accommodation at Oatlands.
Cardinal Pole was now able to continue his endeavours to bring about peace between the Emperor and the King of France. His agent Parpaglia, who had accompanied him to Marck, received there a “writing” from the Constable, and on returning to England communicated a part of it by letter to the Bishop of Arras, writing at the same time to the Constable, that the suggestions in his “memorandum” were represented by Parpaglia to the Imperial prime minister as exclusively his own, so that should they please the Emperor, the King of France and the Constable might rest assured that the “writing” would remain a profound secret.
On the 27th August, Michiel announces the arrival, on the preceding day, of the King and Queen at Westminster, from Hampton Court, on their way to Greenwich. He remarks that the Queen, being very much in love, naturally felt disconsolate in prospect of Philip's departure, though she concealed it as much as she could; and that she “mourns the more when alone, and when she supposes herself invisible to any of her attendants. During this absence Cardinal Pole will reside with her, lodgings having been assigned him in the palace, that he may comfort and keep her company, Her Majesty delighting greatly in the sight and presence of him.” From Brussels, Badoer writes, that it would soon be decided whether the Emperor or his son should go to Spain, and on their meeting it was to be settled whether the adjustment of the difference between the Emperor and the King of the Romans should be arranged by Queen Maria, the Emperor's sister, or by his nephew and son-in-law the King of Bohemia, who had written to him a very humble letter, justifying himself for the second time against the charge of having favoured certain preachers of rare ability, who were accused of having Lutheran opinions.
King Philip departed from Greenwich for Dover on the 29th August, and Michiel, in the company of Cardinal Pole, witnessed the leave-taking between the Queen and the King, which he describes very minutely. A few days previously, in the Council-chamber, the King in his own and the Queen's name had appointed Pole prime minister of England, having already secured Pole's consent, for which purpose he went privately to the Legate's own apartment. Pole, as he told Michiel, did not think fit to combat the King's wish, as he felt certain that their Majesties' desire would have the approval of the Pope, which, as the Pope's representative, he was bound to obtain.
King Philip's Spanish prime minister, Don Ruy Gomez, by birth a Portuguese, preceded his master to Brussels, and there had audience of the Emperor on the 7th August, returning to England in time to recross with his master. (fn. 23) On the 28th August, while in London (being booted and spurred for his journey), he made an appointment with a Dalmatian soldier to confer with him at Brussels, where he asked his assistance for the intended assassination in Venice of Edward Courtenay, twelfth Earl of Devonshire and second Marquis of Exeter. Courtenay's death was compassed, not by steel at Venice, as was intended, but by poison at Padua, from which city Peter Vannes, the Queen's ambassador, wrote her an account of it on the 18th September 1556, commencing thus:— “The Earl of Devonshire died little more than an hour ago.” In the middle of August whilst at Venice, where he was made much of, for his recreation he happened to go to Lido to see his hawk fly upon a waste.
“There he was suddenly overtaken by a great tempest of wind and rain, so that he could not return to Venice by his gondola, but was forced to take a searcher's boat which had arrived there by chance, and so got to Venice, 'being body and legs very thinly clothed, refusing to change them with any warmer garment.' About five days after, as he told Vannes, he had a fall on the stairs of his house, but, feeling well and suffering no pain, came hither. To avoid the tediousness of the water and save horses he took the worst way and came by 'a certain waggons called coches, very shaking and uneasy to my judgment,' arriving on a Saturday night. Hearing of his coming, went to visit him next day, and found him very weak. After that he grew daily worse and worse, avoiding friends' visitations as a speech molest to him, and drew himself to the counsel of two of the best physicians here, and entered into a continual great hot ague, some time more vehement than at another. He was always diligently attended. Has charged his servants in her Majesty's name to take a true inventory of the small moveables he had, and especially that all writings or litters that he had here or at Venice shall be put in assurance to await the royal commands.” (fn. 24)
Supposing the statement made to the Council of Ten by the Dalmatian soldier (fn. 25) to be true, a comparison thereof with the letter of Peter Vannes, and with the entries in this Calendar, from the 26th to the 28th November 1555 (relative to Courtenay's casket, and the sleights of policy and of hand of the Council of Ten), will perhaps convince my readers that neither the Republic of Venice, nor Queen Mary's English advisers, can be justly held accountable for the death, apparently by poison, of the Earl of Devonshire.
After his father's execution on the 9th January 1539, Edward Courtenay, being then only twelve years old, was sent by Henry VIII. to the Tower, where he remained until the accession of Queen Mary, who on the 4th of August 1553 released him. On the 2nd of October in that year, Cardinal Pole, being at Trent, wrote him a letter, the general tone of which implies the wish and expectation that his cousin might become his sovereign. To this I attribute the impediments to which the journey of the Legate towards Brussels and France was subjected by Don Juan de Mendoza, and the rude treatment subsequently experienced by him from the Emperor's prime minister, the Bishop of Arras. (fn. 26) Charles V. was bent on his son's marriage to the Queen of England, and in December 1553, the Bishop of Arras complained to the Venetian ambassador at Brussels, that Soranzo, his colleague in England, was thwarting it, in consequence of which complaint Soranzo was replaced by Michiel. (fn. 27)
Courtenay remained at liberty from August 1553 until February 1554, during which interval his character has been admirably sketched by the popular historian of that period. (fn. 28) From Michiel's letters we now learn the precise moment of his release from Fodringham Castle (in April 1555), and his immediate departure for Brussels. According to a letter from Courtenay himself to Sir Francis Englefield, he was already at Calais on the 8th May, (fn. 29) and Badoer writes that he arrived at Brussels on the 17th. (fn. 30) On the 26th we hear on the same authority that it had been already proposed to him to marry the Duchess of Lorraine, the Emperor's niece, whose hand had been refused by the Duke of Savoy. (fn. 31) On the 29th of May Courtenay himself wrote to his mother, and his other correspondents in England, that on Sunday the 19th he was resented to the Emperor by the Duke of Alva; (fn. 32) and early in June he was introduced by Sir John Masone to Federico Badoer, to whom he announced his intention of residing some time at Venice; Badoer remarking in cipher, “that he was evidently in great fear for his life, and thought of nothing but preserving it; though he had no suspicion of the Emperor, whose audience or “him had been loving.” (fn. 33) A few days later the Emperor showed himself still more gracious to Lord Paget's son and son-in-law, to whom on their arrival at Brussels he caused refreshments to be sent; and as this compliment was not paid to the Earl of Devonshire, although he was, as the English there remarked, infinitely superior to the Pagets, Courtenay felt piqued, and quitted Brussels for Louvain with only two servants. On the 13th June Mr. Basset wrote to him about “his very friend Don Ruy Gomez,” and on the 30th, Badoer states that Masone had requested the Bishop of Arras to obtain permission from the Emperor for Courtenay to depart for Italy. To this request Granvelle replied that the Emperor did not interfere in this business, and that Courtenay should get leave from his Queen, but the bishop told Masone to dissuade him from making this journey for the present, in order that he might see the war. The refusal of his request by the Emperor troubled Courtenay greatly.
In July Courtenay received a letter from his mother in London, informing him that Ruy Gomez had told her, by order of King Philip, that he had every reason to be easy in his mind, as King Philip loved him, and would soon show it by matter of fact, and therefore Courtenay was no longer intent on obtaining his passport for Italy. Moreover, several persons at Brussels had told him that should Queen Mary not have heirs, the Emperor would favour his marriage with the Princess Elizabeth. He accordingly returned to Brussels, and asked audience of his Imperial Majesty, without its being known for what purpose.
The letter conveying this intelligence to the Doge and Senate was dated Brussels, 28th July, and on the 31st July, Badoer's colleague at Richmond, Giovanni Michiel, intimated that his despatch to the Signory would be conveyed as far as Brussels by Don Ruy Gomez, who was then about to depart thither. Gomez arrived there on the 7th August, and immediately conferred with the Emperor, to whom he suggested that as Courtenay had been made to come to Brussels, so should the Lady Elizabeth be removed from England. Thereupon the Emperor held a long consultation with Queen Maria, the Bishop of Arras, and M. de Praet, and it was settled for King Philip to come over as soon as possible, bringing with him certain English malcontents, and that he was to try and induce the Lady Elizabeth to come and reside with the Queens Maria and Eleanor. This message was sent to King Philip by secretary Erasso, Ruy Gomez being then too ill to return to his master in England.
On hearing of the Spanish premier's arrival, Courtenay returned from Louvain and went to him immediately, requesting that he would obtain from King Philip permission for him to go into Italy. Ruy Gomez replied that he was expecting his Majesty at Brussels in the course of the month, and that from him Courtenay might expect everything possible, adding all sorts of loving language. On good Spanish authority, Badoer understood that Courtenay would be compelled either to accompany the King to Spain, or else be sent under custody to Sicily; and the Lady Elizabeth would be treated like the Duke of Calabria, whom they sent to Spain, forbidding him to marry until his offspring could no longer cause the Emperor any trouble.
Whilst Ruy Gomez was on his way back to England, where he arrived in time to recross the Channel with King Philip on the 4th September (after having the brief interview with the Dalmatian soldier at Greenwich already referred to), Courtenay, when riding through Brussels, had his attendants attacked by some Spaniards on account of former disputes. He reproved the assailants, but was answered by threats, and seeing some of their countrymen coming up to reinforce them, he escaped to his lodging. On his retreat four of his attendants were wounded, as also were some of the Spaniards. He then went to the Bishop of Arras, complaining that this was the fourth assault to which his retinue had been subjected, and he was promised that these annoyances should not be repeated. The bishop attributed them to disputes about prostitutes between menials; and he invited Courtenay to accompany him to mass in the cathedral, to show the world that what took place was owing to rogues, and from other causes than lack of goodwill on the part of the Imperial ministers towards the English nation.
A few days later the Emperor received a letter from his son to say that Lord Paget had strongly urged him not to take the Lady Elizabeth out of the kingdom, as it would cause too great a commotion. Badoer was also informed that Lord Courtenay would soon be allowed to go to Italy, and that the Bishop of Arras so honoured him in public, that he compelled him by force to take precedence and keep the right hand.
On it being heard at Brussels that King Philip and Ruy Gomez had set out from Calais, the Earl of Devonshire and Sir John Masone rode to meet them. The royal party dismounted on the 8th of September, at the Casino, near the Louvain gate; the King knelt before his father begging for permission to kiss his hand. To this, however, the Emperor would not consent, and doffing his own bonnet instead, holding it in his hand, he requested him earnestly to rise, in the act of doing which the King insisted on kissing his left arm, when the Emperor embraced and kissed him so lovingly that the tears came to his eyes. The King then called by name the Admiral, Lord William Howard, and the Earls of Arundel and Pembroke, and some other English gentlemen, and presented them to the Emperor, who received them joyfully, but did not allow them to kiss his hand, it being his wont never to give it to such as are not his own subjects.
Three days after these presentations, the obsequies of the Emperor's demented mother, Queen Joanna, were celebrated, and owing to the dispute for precedence between England and Portugal, Sir John Masone (according to report) was not to be invited to attend them; but Masone declared that, with or without an invitation, he intended to be present at the ceremony, together with the other Englishmen at Brussels, who determined that after the funeral they would return home; nor would they accept the lodging provided for them by the King, but requested him to allow them to select one to their own satisfaction.
Whilst the hearse was being erected in the cathedral of St. Gudule, Queen Joanna's daughter Maria, then 52 years old, was making preparations for a hunt in honour of her nephew's arrival. The Queen Dowager of Hungary was a stateswoman, an admirable horsewoman, and took unerring aim with the cross-bow. She was of diminutive stature, of very spare frame, with a thick underlip, and was never quiet either at home or abroad. She was intellectual, and had courage enough for anything. Besides the lip, her Burgundian descent was demonstrated by her character, which, woman as she was, more nearly resembled that of Charles the Bold than that of her gentle and forgiving great grandmother, Maria of Burgundy. King Philip told Masone that this hunt was prepared “for us English” (per noi altri Inglesi) but Courtenay Was not invited to it, the reason assigned for this neglect being that the Bishop of Arras having sent his brother to invite him to a supper at which the rest of the English were to be present, Courtenay had him told that he was not at home.
Sir John Masone's remarks about his exclusion from Queen Joanna's obsequies were expressed in such unmeasured terms that Ruy Gomez taxed him with indiscretion for presuming so strongly to urge the rights of the Queen in a city where her Consort was residing; telling Masone that he was a mere agent, and that for the future no other title would be conceded him. The Spanish prime minister also said that when Masone went to meet the King, his haughty demeanour was such, that not only did he not dismount, but made Courtenay follow his example. Ruy Gomez moreover reproached him with having written to the Lords of the Council in England that Courtenay's servants had been maltreated by the Spaniards at Brussels, the other English being no less ill looked on, which, when King Philip returned, might induce them to take their revenge in London. On hearing of these charges Masone went to Ruy Gomez, who refused either to receive him or to obtain audience for him from the King, whereupon Masone exclaimed to the bystanders, “Oh, God! if the King treats me so ill, I, who was of his faction, following Lord Paget in favouring the marriage, what will he do to those who opposed him?”
On the morrow, when the King appeared in public, Masone went and apologised to him, saying that he did not get off his horse to avoid impeding his Majesty's progress, but the reception given him was cold. After listening to his excuses, the King ordered him, in terms more applicable to a menial than to an ambassador, to tell the English nobility who had accompanied him to Brussels, to hold themselves in readiness for a hunt, prepared by his aunt Queen Maria, who would send a horse for each of them, because, they having travelled postwise, it was requisite to mount them.
Of these affronts offered by Queen Mary's Consort to her ambassador, there is no mention in the Foreign Calendar, 1553–1558, and respecting the English nobility who accompanied King Philip to Brussels, Masone merely wrote thence to the Council on the 22nd September 1555:—
“The lords who came hither waiting upon his Majesty intended to have taken leave to-morrow, but this afternoon his Highness has required them, on the Emperor's behalf, to tarry one day longer. On Tuesday next they mind to return to England, when doubtless they will make such report of their royal entertainment here as they have right good reason to do.” (fn. 34)
It is possible that the last eight words of the paragraph vaguely implied dissatisfaction, but as, in July 1555, Carne wrote from Rome a full and precise account of his dispute for precedence at Rome with the Portuguese ambassador, (fn. 35) it can only be supposed either that Masone forbore to make any complaints, or that Queen Mary suppressed any despatches the contents of which might render her Consort unpopular; and the like may be surmised respecting Carne's correspondence when it disparaged the policy of Paul IV. The reserve of these two English diplomatists, or of their Sovereign, is manifested by the despatches of Badoer and Navagero, which thus demonstrate clearly how the Calendars now in course of publication connect themselves one with another, and throw fresh light upon English history.
To return to Courtenay. On the 15th of October King Philip granted him permission to go to Italy, or to any other country he pleased, and he presented himself twice to the Venetian ambassador, informing him of his intention to depart in a fortnight for Venice. He apparently arrived there in January 1556, and seems to have anticipated “royal honours,” for on the 8th February we find the Council of Ten apologising to him for withholding them, “for his own sake.” A few days later the Ten granted him an arms-permit for 25 of his attendants, a precaution rendered necessary as an act of humanity, owing to a statement made to the Ten on the 24th December 1555, by Marco da Risano (whose presence in England in September of that year is confirmed by the ambassador Michiel), intimating that King Philip had cancelled the writ banishing him from Naples, and granted to him permission to dispose of the pension and other profits (la provisione ed altri utili) given him there by the Emperor; with which concessions he left England perfectly satisfied.
The Foreign Calendar (Mary, p. 229) states that in June 1556 Courtenay was in the territory of the Duke of Ferrara, the ally of France. The close of his career has been already told, and it seems probable that Peter Vannes knew less about the causes of his death than the Spanish ambassador, Francisco de Vargas, and that the French ambassador, the Bishop of Lodéve, was better acquainted with the contents of his casket than the representative of England in Venice, who only obtained such meagre information as is printed in this volume, from page 64 to page 255. The matters set out there are mere historical curiosities, and do not expose the political intrigues then in progress between Courtenay, the King of France, and the Duke of Ferrara.
At the time when Courtenay informed the Venetian ambassador at Brussels that King Philip had allowed him to travel, Queen Mary gave leave to her sister Elizabeth Tudor to return to Hatfield from Greenwich. During her stay at Greenwich Cardinal Pole never once saw her, although their apartments were contiguous; nor did they ever meet until the end of November 1556, when she went from Somerset House to visit him at Lambeth.
On the 25th October 1555, at Brussels, the Emperor renounced the states of Flanders to his son, in the presence of the Queens Eleanor and Maria, but the Archduke Ferdinand, his nephew, studiously avoided being present at the ceremony by reason of the claims of the King of the Romans, his father, on the Low Countries. Archduke Ferdinand came ostensibly to take leave of the Emperor on his departure for Spain, but in reality for a deeper purpose, it being evident that Queen Mary would die childless, and his Imperial Majesty was desirous that his nephew should marry her sister Elizabeth, and thus share the crown of England. In return for this the Emperor expected the King of the Romans, and his son the King of Bohemia, to consent to King Philip's being appointed “Vicar of the Empire;” but in July 1556, at Brussels, the King of Bohemia declared that his father did not desire Charles V. to renounce the Imperial title, meaning (I infer) unless the resignation were made unconditionally; a supposition which is corroborated by the Emperor's letter to the King of the Romans dated 12th September 1556, (fn. 36) showing that the Emperor's renunciation depended on the acceptance by the Electors of his terms, which “he hopes Ferdinand will urge by “assisting his ambassadors” One of these was the Prince of Orange, on whose arrival in Bohemia the King of the Romans avoided seeing him.
It is also evident that the Emperor did not intend to abdicate, because on his leaving the Low Countries for Spain the powers left by him to Ferdinand for ruling the Empire were more limited than ever, and he took with him to San Yuste the Imperial crown, the mantle, and sceptre, and also an agent of the King of the Romans. (fn. 37) On the 2nd of October 1555 Badoer wrote from Brussels that the servants of the King of England complained greatly of King Ferdinand's thwarting the Emperor's wish to obtain for his son the title of “Vicar in Italy;” and a few days later Badoer wrote distinctly that, as the King of the Romans would not consent to the King of England being “Vicar in Italy,” the Emperor, who had intended and promised his brother to renounce the Empire to him, would now not do so, but retire to Spain without giving him any other “administration” than he was entitled to by his investiture.
These facts are of some historical importance, both because one of the Emperor's modern biographers makes it appear that the Archduke Ferdinand was sent by his father to deter the Emperor from renouncing the Empire, (fn. 38) whereas it now appears that the Emperor sent for his nephew, to offer him the hand of Elizabeth Tudor, presumptive heiress of the crown of England, and to resign the Imperial crown to the King of the Romans, provided King Philip were appointed “Vicar in Italy;” and as the counter-statement is based on the contemporary correspondence between the Emperor and his brother, we thus learn that the semi-official letters of sovereigns have often a hidden meaning which professional historians misunderstand, unless it be explained to them by an uninterrupted series of contemporaneous diplomatic despatches. These modify the sense of documents, which, however authentic, are but fragmentary, and often lead to false conclusions.
In Froude's History of England, it is said that Queen Mary dissolved her fourth Parliament on the 9th of September, probably a misprint for 9th December, for according to Cardinal Pole and Giovanni Michiel, the dissolution took place on the latter day. As a supplement to what Mr. Froude says about the general spirit of the House, we learn through the ambassador Badoer that Queen Mary wrote to her consort that she had urged him to come to her, because a number of violent opposition members had been returned to Parliament, in consequence of which she did not venture to propose his coronation; and she added, that if she were unable to carry this Act (termed by her “so beneficial for the common weal”), she thought of effecting it on the dissolution of Parliament, with the aid of a number of peers (signori) and other personages of the kingdom. King Philip replied that as she naturally desired this result more than he did, he therefore requested her not to propose anything in this matter unless sure of success. The importance attached by the Emperor and King Philip to the ceremony of the coronation has not I believe been noticed by English historians. I therefore venture to call attention to the pages in this volume where the fact is recorded. (fn. 39) According to report, in May 1556, Charles V. had some idea of enforcing the coronation of his son by a fleet; whilst Basse Fontaine, the Erench ambassador at Brussels, told Lord Paget that his King would favour the people of England, were they to refuse their consent to this Act, and oppose it by force.
The notoriety of this circumstance in Flanders may be inferred from the fact that the ambassador there rarely wrote its particulars in cipher. This reminds me that at the period in question, which was that of the Dudley conspiracy, Michiel wrote a ciphered paragraph about it from London to the Senate, and as I omitted it at page 412 of this volume, where it ought to have followed the words “between the two crowns,” I now insert it:
“But should Clinton in France, or Paget at Brussels, have other matters to negotiate at those courts, your Serenity will receive from thence fuller and more certain intelligence, as it is less difficult to conceal transactions in the places where they end than where they commence and originate. (fn. 40)
In April 1556, Queen Maria of Hungary was in constant correspondence with Queen Mary, whom she urged to put aside her timidity and every consideration, and to crown her Consort, who otherwise would never return to her, which advice was supposed to be interested, the Emperor's sister wishing her nephew to go to England, that she might resume the Regency of Flanders instead of accompanying her brother to Spain. It was also proposed to send the Lady Elizabeth thither, her marriage with the Archduke Ferdinand having failed to take effect. Henry II. said he had heard this on good authority, and that the Princess Elizabeth was to marry Don Carlos.
Amongst the persons arrested in England on account of the Dudley conspiracy, was a female politician called by Michiel “the widow Brocklier,” but who seems to have been the relict of Sir Walter Bucler, who on a certain occasion in October 1552 befriended Elizabeth Tudor. This lady has not been registered among the political martyrs of the time, and all we hear of her from the Venetian ambassador in London is, that “although a gentlewoman, she was nevertheless factious and had a bad name;” so, lest search should be made for her, she determined on flight, to avoid imprisonment, but was arrested either at the sea-side or on the road, and taken to the Tower. She was joined there almost immediately by Sir Peter Carew and Sir John Cheke (son-in-law of the ambassador Masone), both of whom had been captured between Mechlin and Antwerp, on suspicion of fresh plots against the King and his consort. The English at Brussels resented this greatly, being of opinion that the suspicion was unfounded, and that King Philip would thus lose the adherents hitherto gained by him.
On the 30th May, the Emperor heard that Paul IV. intended to call a Lateran Council, for the purpose of depriving him and the King of the Romans of their dignities, because at the Diet of Augsburg the King consented that Germany should live according to the Confession of Augsburg, and to this the Emperor had submitted. This caused the chief ministers at Brussels to express hopes that his Holiness, thinking to do their Majesties harm, would thus reconcile them to each other, making them and their sons also become friends. On receiving these despatches and hearing that the Pope was sending commissioners into the kingdom of Naples, the Emperor exhibited the most violent rage. He assembled the Council of State daily, and on one occasion summoned thither his own confessor Father Soto, and King Philip's confessor De Castro, showing them letters from Rome, to the effect that if the King of Spain withdrew his obedience, the Pope would excommunicate him and deprive him of the title of King. The confessors, whose orthodoxy was undoubted, suggested that the people might yet be kept to their allegiance, as had been done on a similar occasion ninety years previously, by the Archbishops of Toledo and Tarragona.
In the meanwhile the Pope's nephew, Cardinal Caraffa, arrived at the French Court with legatine powers, it being said that amongst other things he would endeavour to make peace between the two crowns, for which same purpose a second Legate was expected at Brussels, where lie never arrived. The Emperor was in favour of acting vigorously against the Pope, but King Philip deprecated whatever might lead to war.
In the second half of July 1556, there was a great rush of Flemings to Brussels, to see the six crowned heads assembled there, namely, the Emperor, King Philip, the King and Queen of Bohemia, Eleanor Queen Dowager of France, and Maria ex-Queen of Hungary. Maximilian, King of Bohemia, did not conceal his dislike of the Spaniards, and styled the ministers at Brussels “dwarf Spaniards.” It was again talked of to give the hand of the Lady Elizabeth to Archduke Ferdinand, but nothing was settled about the title of “Vicar in Italy” for King Philip. On the 9th of August at 4.30 p.m. the Emperor quitted Brussels for ever, and on the 27th, at Ghent, Badoer took leave of him. His last words about the Pope were, that “he hoped he would abstain from playing his mad pranks, which he (the Emperor) attributed to such extreme old age that he (the Pope) might be said to have arrived at second childhood,” adding that, in the midst of so much mischief, this was a blessing. On the 29th the Emperor proceeded from Ghent towards the seaside, in a litter, and on the l6th September at 8h. 40m. a.m. he embarked at Arnemuiden for Spain. He was accompanied by his sisters, the two Queens, Maria and Eleanor, but did not put into Dover to embark the presumptive heiress of the English crown, neither did he land troops there, to enforce the coronation of King Philip, though by a document in the Appendix to this volume it will be seen that even before Philip's marriage was consummated, the Emperor gave proof of intending him to be supreme in England, by ordering the foreign ambassadors, who were despatched with congratulations on the marriage in the summer of 1554, to remain in London, and not to go beyond, for announcement of their homage, until after the arrival of the King Consort.
On the Emperor's departure Ruy Gomez remained King Philip's prime minister in the Low Countries, in like manner as in England Queen Mary's cabinet was ruled by Cardinal Pole, whose official acts being sufficiently manifested by the chronological classification of his correspondence, it remains merely to allude to the recreation derived by him from literary pursuits and from the beauties of nature.
We have already seen him applying to Cardinal Gonzaga, to prevent the book trade at Mantua from publishing spurious editions of Cardinal Bembo's works. Mention has been also made of the dedication to him of Vida's “De Dignitate Reipublicae,” the scene of which is laid in the Madrucci Villa at Trent, where during the summer of 1545, after toiling for the Council during business hours, Pole took his evening relaxation in the garden there. At that time he was threatened with assassination, in like manner as ten years previously his happiness at the Benedictine Grange, in the Euganean Hills, was disturbed by the menacing efforts of Cromwell and Tunstall to convert him from the faith in which he had been born and educated.
After his return from Trent we find him in October 1546 writing to Vittoria Colonna from Padua, congratulating himself on his delight in the house there of Cardinal Bembo, “where” (thus he expresses himself) n the first place I enjoy as much security and mental ease as if it were my father's; and secondly, such convenience that I, at present, could not desire better, most especially of two things in which I have always greatly delighted, a study and a garden, both of which I have found in such perfection here, that to my taste I should be unable to find more beautiful ones anywhere else.”
The hopes of Charles V. that Paul IV. would “abstain from playing his mad pranks” were not verified; the Pope continued to fortify Rome, regardless of sacred edifices, secular palaces, or Farnesian gardens. In pity for the destruction of these last, Cardinal Pole wrote from England to his friend the soldier and military engineer Camillo Orsini; and he most pathetically informed Alessandro Farnese that the destruction of his trees caused him more pain than he ever could have believed himself capable of feeling for such a loss, even had they been planted with his own hands; and that although he was aware of being “very sensual” (assai sensuale) in his passion for gardens and trees, his grief was also caused by that which he thought must be felt by Cardinal Farnese, and because those trees seemed to him to embellish the whole of Rome. (fn. 41) In the same month of September 1556, when that letter was written, Cardinal Pole took Queen Mary over his own archiepiscopal gardens at Lambeth
It remains for me to give account of the contents of my Appendix, which numbers 130 documents, dated from the year 1363 to 1556, and now existing in the archives of Venice and Modena, in St. Mark's Library, and in the Correr Museum. The abstracts of these documents will appear at the end of the second part of this volume.
In the supplement to my preceding volume (pp. 600–10), there were earlier notices of Sir John Hawkwood's negotiations with the Republic than those previously published by me, the documents ranging from the 23rd May to the 10th November 1376; and it will now be seen that thirteen years previously English soldiers aided the State of Venice to quell revolt in Candia. The contract was facilitated by “John the Englishman,” and as Hawkwood was then in Italy defending Pisa against Florence, (fn. 42) it is possible that, during a truce, he may have come over to Venice to recommend his fellow-soldier, the “Lord Thomas,” also an Englishman, but whose surname is in like manner unrecorded in the Signory's registers.
On the 10th April 1364, the Lord Thomas embarked at Lido with his 110 Englishmen, and the expedition returned in triumph on the 4th of June following, when Petrarch chanced to be at Venice, and in one of his letters describing the tournament held on St. Mark's Square in honour of this victory, he says that amongst the tilters were some English lords, the kinsfolk of Edward the Third. It is probable that he alluded to Hugh de la Zouche and Andrew de Beaumont, who both claimed royal descent, and who, in May 1364, deserted the Pisans for the Florentines.
It may reasonably be asked where Zouche and Beaumont could stable their war horses in Venice. The question is answered by the next entry, showing that at that period, on the site of the present prisons, which were built by the architect Antonio Da Ponte in the year 1589, one “John the Englishman” kept an inn, whose sign was “the Dragon,” nor could it be mistaken for any other than St. George's. All the English pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land consequently patronised “mine host” of the Dragon, who in March 1365 accommodated the pilgrim Sir Henry Stromyn, his retinue, and his horses. Sir Henry's head groom, “Robin the Englishman,” having struck a Venetian for defiling his charges' litter, the unclean intruder stabbed the faithful servant to the heart with a bread-knife. The account of the inquest and deposition, which is still preserved in the Venetian Archives, enables me to add a paragraph about English life in Italy in the fourteenth century, illustrating the respect exacted by a trusty servant for his master and his master's cattle. These circumstances, together with Sir Henry Stromyn's translation to the “Lord of the night watch” of poor Robin's “get out” by “vade foras” form a touching and idiomatic narrative describing exactly what took place near the “Ponte della paglia” at the vesper hour on the 3rd of March 1365.
At that period we hear less of pilgrims at Venice than of soldiers. In April 1377, Nicolò, Marquis of Este, gave Jacky (Zanechino) Penreth a passport for himself and ten comrades, on their way through his territory, to and from Venice; and in 1386 Dame Hawkwood wrote to the Marquis's consort, Verde della Scala, announcing the birth of Sir John's first-born legitimate son.
In the year 1866, Sir Thomas Hardy, in his “Report upon the Documents in the Archives and Public Libraries of Venice,” alluded to the interest taken by George I. about state papers there, required for Leibnitz, who was writing a history of the German branch of the House of Este; the King also applying to the State in favour of Muratori, he being similarly occupied by order of the Duke of Modena on behalf of the Italian branch; but on second thoughts, his Majesty delicately modified this last request, lest it should interfere with the Signory's territorial claims.”
Acting upon this hint, received from so able a pioneer, I have succeeded in connecting the Crown of England with the House of Este by an uninterrupted series of historical documents, commencing with John Hawkwood and his wife Donnina Visconti in 1377, and ending with an embassy to Queen Mary in 1554.
The four first Marquises of Este thus brought into juxtaposition with England from 1377 to 1450, bore originally the title of “Vicar of the See Apostolic in Ferrara.” Marquis Leonello took for his second wife Maria, natural daughter of Alfonso of Aragon, who expelled Réné of Anjou from Naples on the 1st of June 1442. On the 30th May 1445 King Réné's daughter Marguerite was crowned Queen of England in Westminster Hall; her consort was a Plantagenet; and as an Earl of Anjou, one of her ancestors, first gave that august name to his descendants in the 10th century, no objection could be raised to the marriage on account of lineage, although her father had so recently lost the kingdom of Naples. That the first letter written from England by the Princess of Anjou to a foreign potentate should be addressed to the Aragonese Marchioness of Este, whose parent had so recently dethroned King Réné, cannot but cause surprise, which will give way to other sentiments when it is seen that Marguerite stifled all personal rancour for the sake of an English student at the University of Ferrara. Thus early in her tempestuous reign did the beautiful young queen, then in her eighteenth year, show how warmly she espoused the interests of her new subjects, evincing at the same time that care for men of letters which developed itself yet more strongly in 1448, when she founded Queen's College in Cambridge. The name of the youth in favour of whom Margaret of Anjou wrote to her cousin Maria of Aragon, sending her a little present of “an ambling hobby,” was Reynold Chicheley, who came of so good a city family that in 1411 and 1421 it supplied London with the Lord Mayors of those two years, having previously provided Canterbury with an archbishop, the exemplary Henry Chicheley, whose nephew, John Chicheley, filled the post of Chamberlain of London when Margaret of Anjou recommended his son to Maria of Aragon. (fn. 43)
there is no counter-signature by a secretary, an omission attributable perhaps to the Queen's household not having then been completely formed, or to the fact of her consort being at Westminster when she wrote it. The water-mark of the paper on which it is written is a toothed wheel with a lever, thus:—
showing that the Queen's stationer was most probably a native of Holland. (fn. 44)
The gentle and endearing tone of the missive did not fail to take effect on Maria of Aragon, for on the 10th May  (fn. 45) Queen Margaret wrote to her cousin, Leonello of Este, from London, saying she had just heard from her well-beloved familiar John Chicheley, citizen and Chamberlain of London, that the Marquis had appointed his son Reynold to the renowned office of rector of the “alimental University” of Ferrara (insigne officium rectoratus almi studii in urbe nestrâ Ferrariense), for which she returned most hearty thanks.
This direct intercourse between the Houses of Lancaster and Este was confirmed by Henry VI., who on the same day wrote a letter of thanks from Windsor Castle to Marquis Leoncllo for having conferred the post of rector of his university on an English subject, alluding also to the additional satisfaction caused him by this honour from the fact of his having been christened by Reynold's great-uncle, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Again, in 1449, when the rector brought a letter from the Marquis to the King, it was answered from London on the 29th November, cordially confirming the goodwill then prevalent between the two potentates. (fn. 46) The character of Margaret of Anjou, on her first arrival in England, is thus drawn by her own pen, and this brief correspondence also affords proof that if the soldiers of England sought renown in Italy, her students likewise succeeded in obtaining it. (fn. 47)
Maria of Aragon died at Ferrara on the 9th December 1449, and her consort survived until October of the following year. He was succeeded by Borso of Este, who was created first Duke of Ferrara by Pope Pius II., on Easter Day, 1471, having previously been made Duke of Reggio and Modena by Frederick III. on the 18th May 1452. In 1457 we find him, at the commencement of the Wars of the Roses, sending to England for horses; the proximity of dates rendering it probable that Queen Margaret's present had not only called attention, “in proud Italy,” to the classical acquirements of one of her subjects, but also founded there the repute of her English stud. Duke Borso's letter on that occasion merely desires the Ferrarese ambassador at Milan to procure from Francesco Sforza a pass for his messenger to England, but it forms a link in the relations between the Estes and the Plantagenets.
To pass from employment obtained by Englishmen in Italy to presents received thence by our sovereigns, and which may possibly connect themselves with the art treasures so munificently collected during her present Majesty's reign, especially the numerous chests and coffers in the South Kensington Museum, painted by Italian artists of the 15th century, I have given an elaborate account in my Appendix of the sweetmeats and liqueurs, stowed in old Venetian earthenware and glass, and packed in painted chests, which were shipped on board the “Flanders galleys” bound to London.
The earliest record that I have found of these dainties is dated 14th June 1458, when the Signory of Venice sent Henry VI. four butts of malmsey and two painted chests (half of their contents being destined apparently for Margaret of Anjou), the one containing forty majolica pots of syruped confections, viz., green ginger, melon, and quince, and the other twenty gourd-shaped gilt-glass flasks of “Rosolio,” now called “Maraschino,” and probably imported from the Republic's city of Zara, where the liqueur is at present flavoured with the cherry kernel instead of the rose leaf. The same galley conveyed two butts of malmsey for the Chancellor, William de Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester; and two butts for the Treasurer, James, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond.
Of the designs of these painted chests, or of their cost, I have been unable to find any record, but as on this same voyage the “Lion galley” landed a painted chest for Philip the Good at Bruges, where, in the year 1458, there were many famous Flemish artists, it may be supposed that for the honour of the State these wooden receptacles were decorated by their Venetian contemporaries, Bartolomeo and Luigi Vivarini, and by Jacopo Bellini and his sons, Gentile and Giovanni. The glass vessels were probably wrought by the Baroviero family; and the glazed majolica containing the sweetmeats was doubtless by those same Venetian potters, of whose works specimens are still visible in the church of St. Giobbe at Venice.
From the year 1461, when Edward IV. assumed the crown, down to July 1468, the Signory's annual presents, shipped on board the Flanders galleys for the Crown of England, were continued. The painted chests, from first to last, were in number 22, and the specimens of old glass and majolica amounted to several thousands. We may hope that, with the help of these dates, the curators of the South Kensington Museum may be enabled to tell us that some fragments of these gifts are still the property of the nation. (fn. 48)
Whilst the Signory were shipping at Venice the first painted chests for Edward IV., two Venetian merchants, by name Diedo and Foscari, were publicly absolved in London from the charge of having defrauded the King's Customs, and the process is so descriptive of city manners and usages a century before the erection of the “Exchange” by the “usurer” Gresham,—for such was he styled by his contemporary, James Basset, (fn. 49) who probably knew more about him than Mr. Burgon, and says distinctly that Gresham's charge of eleven or twelve in the hundred was “intolerable,”—that the following particulars respecting an English merchant prince at the time of the Wars of the Roses require no apology.
In the year 1461, one of the great city authorities, although he had never been Lord Mayor, was Sir John Fry, whose son, Sir Richard Fry, Knight, married a Plantagenet, namely, Joan, daughter of Edmund, Duke of Somerset (who was slain in the battle of St. Alban's, May 22nd, 1455), and widow of Sir Robert St. Lawrence, Baron of Howth in Ireland. (fn. 50) Sir John Fry dwelt in the parish of St. Bartholomew the Less in the city of London, his orchard-garden? (“arcincus gardinum”—sic) being the resort where merchants most did congregate. All the important business of the London mart was apparently transacted under the arcades “of the well known usual dwelling of the nobleman Sir John Fry,” where, on the 7th June 1461, the noble Venetians Diedo and Foscari were restored to fair fame. A notarial act was drawn up on the spot to that effect by John Hyde, their slanderers abjuring what they had asserted. The witnesses to the recantation were the Venetian consul, Sir Thomas Walgrave, Sir Maurice Arundel, skinner, William Woortely, and others. Such were the forms of penance, with damages for defamation, patriarchally ordained by the London merchants in Sir John Fry's garden, in lieu of sounding bell or trumpet, as was done on Gresham's Exchange at a later period.
The mode of protesting bills in London, in Sir John Fry's time, is also worth recording. The person on whom the dishonoured bill was drawn, or his agent, accompanied by a notary public and two witnesses, went with it to one of the many city scriveners, whose dwellings for the most part were situated in Lombard Street, and presenting the bill to him, after repeating that he refused payment of it, he then on the threshold of the scrivener's office inquired whether any of the bystanders would disburse the bill's amount, expressing his readiness to receive it, and no answer being given him, he “protested” against its drawer, and against all other persons concerned in the transaction; this notarial process being completed by a bill-broker's certificate, stating the number of English silver pennies required in London for the purchase of a Venetian gold sequin. The “protest” quoted by me is dated London, 17th January 1459, when the sequin was worth 44 ½ d. sterling, the bill having been bought in Venice on the 17th October 1458, at the rate of 18 pence per sequin, and the amount of the bill being 500 sequins, payable in London, in silver. (fn. 51)
To return to the intercourse between the House of Este and the Crown of England, I have already mentioned that Marquis Leonello of Este, the correspondent of Margaret of Anjou and Henry of Lancaster, was succeeded by Borso, the first Duke of Ferrara. In December 1467, one of his intelligencers resident at Bruges gave him the first news of the expected marriage between Charles the Bold and Margaret of York, sister of Edward IV. The intelligencer, whose name seems to have been Chiexia, informed the Duke of Ferrara that the time of its celebration was uncertain, the Duke of Burgundy demanding as security for payment of the bride's dower (although it was only 200,000 crowns), eighteen personages, namely, six English bishops, six (sic) Irish archbishops, and six peers of the realm, to be selected by himself. By the end of the month it seems that these terms were modified, though he still insisted on receiving 50,000 crowns on the wedding day, and another 50,000 within six months from that time, the residue to be disbursed in two years at the rate of 50,000 crowns annually. (fn. 52)
Chiexia adds, that as the bride was to be sent to Bruges entirely at the cost of Edward IV., the Duke of Burgundy's regard for economy would also prevent him from giving the grand entertainments which had been expected. But the Ferrarese intelligencer also states, that at the close of 1467, Warwick and all his adherents had left the Court for their country seats, owing to the King Maker's brother, George Neville, Archbishop of York, having been deprived of the Chancellorship, and because the Wideville family then ruled despotically. It may therefore be supposed that the Duke of Burgundy, knowing how much his support was needed by Edward IV., dispensed with all complimentary expenditure when marrying his sister.
Chiexia's anticipation of turmoil in England seems to have been disregarded by Borso of Este, Duke of Ferrara, who, unlike Marquis Leonello, cared more for his stud than he did for his university, and regardless of the Wars of the Roses, sent his master of the horse, by name Biasio de Biragho, to make a second purchase of hobbies in England. On the 11th of October 1470, Biragho wrote to the Duke from Bruges, that whilst waiting at Calais for his passage, in the preceding month of September, the Earl of Warwick on the 24th (fn. 53) sailed thence with 3,000 Englishmen to reinstate King Henry VI., and having landed in England, routed Edward, who on the 11th October (Biragho writes) was already at the Hague; the Earl of Warwick in the meanwhile having marched to London, “where he was received as if he had been a God, and then, with the consent of the populace, he went to take King Henry out of prison, and made him King again, the whole of England shouting Henry' and Warwick' (e tuta quanta la Ingiltera crida Henricho e Varich)”
Without alluding to the treachery of the Gascon Vaucler, the deputy-governor of Calais, towards King Edward, (fn. 54) Biragho merely says that Calais rebelled immediately, and shouted “Warwick,” and that Vaucler tried to give him courage; but such was his fear lest Charles the Bold should lay siege to Calais that he made his escape with difficulty to Bruges. From that city he writes to Duke Borso that when able to cross in safety he would bring some good hobbies from England for him and for “Messer Hercule,” adding that “as fortune willed it thus, he would find means to form some fresh contrivance” (qualche trama nuova). This closing sentence is enigmatical; it may possibly imply that Biragho's mission combined hobbies and politics, and that the dynasty of York having given way to Lancaster, he would therefore communicate certain wishes of the House of Este to Henry VI. instead of to Edward IV.
I am unable to ascertain whether Biragho realised his intention of going to England in the year 1470, but in 1471, on the death of Duke Borso, he remained in the service of his half-brother and successor Duke Hercules, who in 1479 sent him to Edward IV., not only for permission to purchase hobbies in Ireland, but also to obtain the Garter, he being the first member of the House of Este whose aspiration to that honour is openly avowed, though from what Biragho wrote about “some fresh contrivance” in October 1470, it is possible that Duke Borso anticipated the desire of his successor.
Biragho arrived in London on the 28th June 1479, and went immediately to Anthony Wideville, Lord Scales, to whom he confided the wish of Duke Hercules, and was presented by him to the King, with whom he conversed for more than an hour, asking him for a passport for Ireland, from which place he hoped to bring the Duke “something to his liking” (cossa piazzarà a vostra magnificentia), evidently alluding to “hobbies,” though he omits the word. He then says that the vacancy of the Garter was caused by the death of Charles the Bold in January 1477, and that he Biragho had so “contrived” with Biasio (tramato con Biasio), apparently some Italian of influence in the household of Edward IV., that as the Duke's sole competitor was the King of Spain, he believed that the Duke would have the greater number of votes.
What success the Eerrarese master of the horse had in Ireland with regard to hobbies is unknown, but he “contrived” so well about the Garter that in the following year King Edward IV. sent it to Hercules, Duke of Ferrara, by Sir Lawrence Raynsford, Knight, and the letter of thanks (the original draft of which was transcribed for me in the archives at Modena) expresses due sense of the great honour conferred on the head of the House of Este by King Edward IV. (fn. 55)
For nineteen years I can show no proof of direct intercourse between the Houses of York and Este, hut in 1498 Biragho, being still in the service of Duke Hercules, was sent by him to England, and from the first of our Tudor kings we learn that the Ferrarese master of the horse was again commissioned to purchase hobbies in Ireland. By the King's own letter, dated Cambridge, 3rd September 1498, addressed to his “very dear brother and friend the Lord Hercules, Duke of Ferrara,” he thanks him for his present of two choice falcons, and alludes to having given their bearer, Biragho, a passport for Ireland, and a warm letter of recommendation to his Lord Deputy there, desiring him to facilitate Biragho's purchase and exportation of hobbies (equos obinos). The King remarks, however, that owing to the wars of the wild Irish amongst themselves, there was a great scarcity of good horses in that island.
“The league between his Highness and Ferrara,”
like every other line penned by Shakspeare, has remained a national phrase from the day he wrote it until now, but it is less generally known that six months after the commission was given at Amiens on the 26th August 1527, (fn. 56)
“To Gregory de Cassalis, to conclude,”
there arrived in London a Ferrarese ambassador from Duke Alfonso of Este to demand compliance with the articles of that league, which stipulated for him the protection of England against any attack from Charles V. The name of this diplomatist was Ferruffino, and the only printed notice I have ever found of him may be read in Mr. Brewer's Calendar, Henry VIII, Vol. IV., part II., p. 1629, No. 3624, showing that he bore credentials to the King from Duke Alfonso's son, “Cardinal Hippolytus da Este, Archbishop of Milan.”
No mention whatever is made of Ferruffino's being accredited to Henry VIII. by the head of the House of Este, but this entry, 3624, is confirmed by one in my Appendix, showing that amongst his other instructions received from Duke Alfonso were the following:—
“In the name of my sons” (Don Ercole II., Cardinal Ippolito II., and Don Francesco of Este) “you will kiss the hands of the aforesaid most potent King and right reverend Legate, and in virtue of their letters of credence, and as they will have ordered you by word of mouth, you will return due thanks, recommending them to his Majesty and to his right reverend lordship, as their most devoted servants.”
When leaving Ferrara for England on the 30th November 1527, Ferruffino received from his master two papers of instructions, of one of which, relating to the welfare of his duchy and of his children, I have already given the substance; the contents of the other relate exclusively to his own personal tastes, which resembled those of his ancestors. (fn. 57)
This second paper, dated Ferrara, 30th November 1527, desired him, after having been a few days in England, to ask the King's permission to purchase in Ireland, and to export thence, eight hobby-mares and two hobby-stallions, to breed from, and to request his Majesty to desire his master of the horse (Sir Nicholas Carew), for whom he also gave Feruffino a letter of credence, to facilitate this matter.
On the 1st of May 1528, Duke Alfonso's falconer Ludovico, and one of his grooms, arrived in London to take charge of the hobbies, which had not yet been purchased, and when Feruffino presented Ludovico to Henry VIII., the King, after inquiring about Duke Alfonso's health, said, laughing, “Master Louis, you are come into this country and have not brought me a falcon.” (fn. 58) He was a man of ready wit, and replied that he had brought a falcon for the King's household but not for his Majesty, who at any rate could dispense with it for the present, as it was the moulting season. The falconer remained in England until September, and then departed with Yorkshire mares, and one very handsome dark brown Irish hobby. This entire stud was a free gift from Henry VIII. to his cousin of Este, it having been impossible to purchase hobbies in Ireland, which was in the same state as in 1498; (fn. 59) but Sir Nicholas Carew assured Feruffino that the English breed of horses excelled that of Ireland. The letter containing Carew's opinion of the comparative merits of English and Irish horses is dated 17th August 1528. It also contains a paragraph connecting the non-observance of the articles of “the league between his Highness and Ferrara,” with Anne Boleyn, thus:—
“The delay in the matter of the ratification and protection practised by the King and Cardinal, with such manifest regard for the Pope, is owing to the new marriage, rather than to any other cause; which marriage is expected eventually to take place, and when effected, the King, after obtaining what he wants from the Pope, will do by your Excellency what is due to you.”
The next Este document obtained by me from the archives at Modena, is dated London, 26th February 1547, and is addressed to Hercules II., Duke of Ferrara, who succeeded his father Alfonso I. on the 1st of November 1534. The writer, Lodovico Montio, by birth a Ferrarese, had been in the service of Henry VIII., and I suspect him to be the individual whose name in the Household Book of Edward VI. is inscribed “Lodovico Montro, Italion.” (fn. 60) Montio seems to have been a great admirer of his deceased master, but professes vassallage and adoration for his sole liege lord of the House of Este, to whom he gives account of the funeral of Henry VIII. and of his successor's coronation. It is known that the body lay in state in the chapel of Whitehall, but what made most impression on Montio was the waxwork figure of the King wrought to the life, and most sumptuously apparelled, its robes being covered with precious stones, of which he said he counted upwards of 500 of inestimable price. He commences his narrative by saying that he “leaves the corpse at Windsor,” whither it seems to have been conveyed some days previously by Sir William Herbert and Sir Anthony Denny; (fn. 61) and he then proceeds to describe the obsequies, which lasted for twenty days, there being one hearse at Westminster, another at Sion, and a third, the grandest of all, at Windsor. He says that all the peers of the realm attended “the masses and offices,” and at the close of the ceremony at Westminster, the waxen figure in its jewelled robes was placed on a stately chariot (carro) drawn by eight horses in black velvet mourning, like the pages that accompanied it. On arriving at Sion, the effigy passed the night above or beneath the second hearse, and then after being on view at Windsor from the third hearse, during the funeral there, which lasted for two days, the mass being said by Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury (celebrante l'arcivescovo), the corpse in its coffin (as known on English authority) (fn. 62) “was interred in the midst of the choir, near the body of Jane Seymour, by Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester.”
Montio, on his return to London, witnessed the coronation of Edward VI., which took place on the 20th February. He enters into details of the ceremony, informing Duke Hercules that when Cranmer, in the act of anointing the young prince, told him, amongst other things, that he was to promise to defend his people and the Church of God with the sword, the ingenuous youth inquired “What church?” (che chiesa?) and when the Archbishop explained his meaning to be “the faithful and the Gospel,” the young King replied that with his whole heart would he do so.
Montio then expresses his opinion of the great importance of the new Sovereign, saying that he had offered condolence and congratulation to Secretary Petre and Protector Somerset, in the name of Duke Hercules II., whose brother-in-law the King of France having hinted to the Venetian ambassador that King Edward was “very close,” (fn. 63) it is probable that anticipating no profit, he deferred sending an embassy to England until the accession of Queen Mary, when he sent congratulations on her marriage to the Prince of Spain.
The person appointed to perform this office by Hercules II. of Este, fourth Duke of Ferrara, was Count Camillo Montecucolo, who arrived in London on the 7th June 1554, and presented himself immediately to the Queen's prime minister, Bishop Gardiner, who seems to have procured audience for him at Richmond on the 11th, but I have been unable to find any account of it. His next letter, dated London, 10th July 1554, mentions the Emperor's order (to which I have already alluded at p. xxxix) for the ambassadors to remain in London, and not to go to Richmond or to any other place, to pay their respects to Queen Mary, until after Philip's arrival in England. The only additional news given by the Ferrarese ambassador is that the Regent Figueroa had arrived in London on his way to Spain, bringing with him a quantity of hangings which the Emperor had caused to be wrought at Antwerp in thread of gold, silver, and silk, as a present for the King Consort.
Here I close my account of the documents contained in the Appendix, and which illustrate the relations between the Italian branch of the House of Este and the Houses of Plantagenet, Lancaster, York, and Tudor.
The imperfections of this volume, and of the five that preceded it, were much diminished by the two oldest and ablest of my Venetian literary friends, the Signori “Commendatore” Giovanni Veludo, and “Cavaliere” Giovanni Battista Lorenzi. To Signor Lorenzi, now Vice-Librarian of the Marciana, I have been debtor for counsel and advice in historical matters during 40 years, and from the day his superior, the “Prefetto” Veludo, first took office in St. Mark's Library in 1849, he has always allowed me, for avoidance of error and solution of doubts, to have recourse to his classical acquirements and innate acumen, which have enabled me to form lucid conjectures about many obscure passages in the various manuscripts which it was my duty to render intelligible.
The present Director of the Venetian Archives, Signor “Commendatore” Bartolomeo Cecchetti, has shown himself no less anxious than his deceased predecessors, the Venetian patrician Girolamo Dandolo, and the Signori Gar and Toderini, to facilitate the work entrusted to me; and of their most indefatigable assistant, Signor Luigi Pasini, I will only say that he has conferred on himself a diploma—Her Majesty's placet munificently ratifying it—by explaining despatches which had remained unintelligible for three centuries; nor would the mystery have been revealed even now, had not the late Master of the Rolls, Lord Romilly, in 1866 encouraged him to attempt their elucidation; the accomplishment of which task has morally galvanized a vast mass of Venetian despatches.
To the second-class assistant in the Marciana, the noble Camillo Soranzo, I am indebted for several letters in my Appendix, addressed to the renowned apostate Pietro Paolo Vergerio, before he changed his creed, by several cardinals, including Nicholas Schomberg, whose sister, the nun, married Martin Luther; and Vergerio's reply to the request of his correspondents, that he would intercede with the King of the Romans for the release of the English ambassador, Prothonotary Casal, shows clearly that he did not deserve it, having been sent into Hungary by Henry VIII. for the sole purpose of injuring the House of Austria.
When first I commenced calendaring in 1864, I alluded to my obligations to the Signor “Cavaliere” Cesare Foucard, who was then employed in the Venetian Archives; he subsequently became director of various State paper offices in Italy, including that of Modena, and last year he considerably increased my debt of gratitude by sending to me thence the Este documents now printed in my present Appendix.
To my English assistant, Mr. R. E. Gent Kirk, whose patient and intelligent assiduity have never failed me throughout the publication of this long series of historical documents, I reiterate my very hearty thanks, and leave his ability to be judged by the method displayed in the indexes to this work.
Last of all (though not the less deep in my memory), it would be shameful ingratitude were I to omit mentioning the very great help derived by me with regard to foreign nomenclature from an indubitably English source. In the year 1861, an eminent barrister of Lincoln's Inn, Mr. William Hackett, did not disdain to cheer his leisure hours by compiling the index to the late Mr. Turnbull's Foreign Calendar of the reign of Queen Mary. The discernment and accuracy of that index foreshadowed the jurist who, in 1875 (having then become Sir William Hackett), was commissioned by Her Majesty to form a code for the Fiji Islands. On his way out to the Pacific for that purpose, passing through Venice, I had the pleasure of a visit from him; his anonymous index had been within arm's length of my writing table ever since 1872, when I commenced collecting documents relating to the period embraced by it. Daily did I bless its compiler for all the instruction he imparted to me, without knowing who he was; and when in the course of conversation it transpired that my accidental visitor had been so long my daily benefactor, to shake him by the hand and give him thanks by word of mouth for such profitable fellowship was one of those pleasant satisfactions the remembrance of which is indelible. On the 5th of January last I had again the good fortune to see Sir William Hackett, when embarking at Venice for Ceylon, he having been recently appointed Lord Chief Justice there. In the law-court over which he now presides this appreciation of his former historic toil will appear to him insignificant, but I cannot refrain from recording my sense of it, by so much the more as it reflects honour on a grand national work undertaken by the Public Record Office. (fn. 64)