Spain: October 1525, 21-25

Pages 378-392

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 3 Part 1, 1525-1526. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1873.

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October 1525, 21-25

21 Oct. 235. The Duke of Sessa and Lope Hurtado [de Mendoça] to the Marquis of Pescara.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 36.
He (the Duke) had, on the 18th instant, written the enclosed, to go by the estafette of Venice, but the post went off without it. Yesterday afternoon Lope Hurtado arrived, and they (the ambassadors) decided to inform his Lordship of what had happened since. Immediately after Hurtado's arrival [in Rome] a message was sent to the Pope, asking for an audience, which was fixed for this morning before noon. Both have attended it, though rather late, owing to its being signature day. After the usual salutations and complimentary phrases, Lope Hurtado explained his commission. His Holiness's answer dwelt chiefly on the many causes of complaint he had against His Imperial Majesty, since, he said, the restitution of Rezo (Reggio) and Rubiera had not been accomplished according to agreement, but was indefinitely postponed; besides which, the Imperial army was still quartered on the lands of the Church, to the great annoyance and detriment of the country people, which causes of complaint were his principal reasons for not entering into the negotiations to which he had been invited.
With regard to Morono's arrest and the taking possession of the duchy of Milan in His Majesty's name, he observed that the charges against that Secretary proving true, he found the measures adopted just, and fully approved of them, provided they had not for an object the final acquisition of that estate by His Imperial Majesty. He, the Pope, felt sure that orders emanating from the Emperor, to be executed by his ministers, could not but be well weighed and considered before they were issued.
They (the ambassadors) replied to the above in a suitable manner, the result of the conference being that His Holiness approved of the precautionary measures taken by his Lordship for our security.—Rome, 21st of October 1525.
Indorsed: "Copy of the letter written by the Duke of Sessa and Lope Hurtado to the Marquis of Pescara."
Spanish. p. 1½.
21 Oct. 236. Prothonotary Caracciolo and Alonso Sanchez, Imperial Ambassadors in Venice, to the Marquis of Pescara.
M. Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 36,
ff. 55–9.
Received, yesterday afternoon, his letter of the 16th instant; and, in obedience to his commands, called on the Signory. Prothonotary Caracciolo being still indisposed, though no longer suffering from fever, could not attend, and therefore he (Aloñso Sanchez) had to go alone.
After delivering his letters, he explained to them how, in consequence of advices received from various quarters, the Marquis had become acquainted with the plots and intrigues whereof Hieronimo Morono was the head. How he (the Marquis) had dissembled at first, hoping that the said Morono, mindful of the many favours received from His Imperial Majesty, would change his ways. But finding that he persevered in his bad practices, and was actually in treaty both with Switzers and French to secure the Duke's inheritance to his brother Maximiano (sic) and destroy the Imperial army quartered in the Duchy, he had been obliged to order his arrest and take other precautionary measures against such designs. Believing, however, that they (the Venetians) had no hand in such intrigues, but, on the contrary, felt grateful for the Emperor's past favours, the Marquis had charged him (Alonso Sanchez) to inform them of that event, and likewise of his intention to make such provision as would ensure to the present Duke the possession of his estate, and at the same time preserve the Imperial army from any sudden and treacherous attack. As friends of the Emperor, he deemed it advisable to acquaint them with his plans. They were not to be astonished if, for the preservation and security of the Imperial army under his command, he (the Marquis) took the military precautions most conducive to that object, for it was his duty, as that of any other general in Christendom, to provide for the wants and safety of his army. They themselves would do the same if similarly situated, and therefore could not find fault with him, if, in the present instance, he took such precautions for the Duke's benefit and the preservation of the Imperial army. No one could doubt the Emperor's righteous intentions, nor his ardent wish for the welfare of the Christian community. They all knew how desirous he was of peace, and how, after Lope Hurtado's arrival in Italy, and the subsequent investiture of the duchy of Milan in the person of Francesco Sforza, he had sent full powers to Prothonotary Caracciolo and to himself (Sanchez) to settle matters in his name, dismiss the army, and send back to the kingdom [of Naples] a portion of the men-at-arms. Unfortunately for both parties, these benevolent intentions of the Emperor had been thwarted by the said intrigues; but he (Sanchez) could assure them that whatever military measures, occupation of territory, or concentration of forces the Marquis might consider necessary under the present circumstances, had no other object than the safety of the Imperial army under his orders.
That they might the more be convinced of the Emperor's good wishes towards them, he (Sanchez) told them how he was fully authorised to confirm the substance of the last conversation which he and his colleague (Caracciolo) had held with their Secretary (of Estate), viz., that we were ready to treat with them and bring the present negotiation to a close, provided their views were just and reasonable, as we had full powers to that effect, and could at once settle all matters without referring home.
Their answer was that they were very thankful for the information which the Marquis [of Pescara] had caused to be conveyed to them, though they could scarcely believe the Duke of Milan and his secretary, Hieronimo Morono, to be guilty of such an offence, after the many benefits received at the Emperor's hands. Yet as the Marquis was a wise and prudent statesman, he was perfectly justified in taking every precaution. If plots existed between the Italian Princes, they (the Venetians) had no knowledge of them. As regards Morono's negotiations with the Switzers, they were to be explained by that secretary's desire to annoy the Grisons, whom he had exasperated beyond measure. About the French they had nothing to say.
Respecting the movements of the Imperial army and other military precautions announced by the Marquis, they had no objection whatever to raise, as they trusted in their not being intended against them.
With regard to the present negotiation they said they had always been, and were still, desirous of being closely united to the Emperor's cause in every respect. They thought, however, that everything might have been settled by that time. No umbrage should be taken at this their answer, since they had declared, over and over again, what they could do in the matter. They would therefore wait for what we had to say, protesting again of their goodwill and right intentions towards His Imperial Majesty.
To the above arguments he (Sanchez) replied as follows: They might be sure, as far as the Marquis was concerned, that his military precautions had no other object in view than his own security and that of the Imperial army. Time would show if he was justified in taking such measures; but in the meanwhile it was his duty, as a prudent general, to guard against danger. Respecting our late negotiation with them, they knew what their answer was, and what our reply had been. These last Italian intrigues had certainly been the cause of the interruption of the negotiations, but we were quite ready to resume them whenever they pleased. To which they replied that evidently there was on each side perfect goodwill and conformity of opinion, and therefore nothing was wanting but the means (la formula). He (Sanchez) observed that they were so wise and prudent that they would find it if they chose. Upon which they promised to talk over the matter, and let him know the result of their deliberations.
(Cipher:) It occurs to us (Sanchez and Caracciolo) to ask your Lordship for new instructions in case the Signory should again resume the suspended negotiations. For it is quite evident that, rather than apply for a new treaty, they will ask for a ratification or confirmation of the last one, wherein the style and mode of confederation are explicitly defined, and the contingent named which they were to furnish in case of the duchy of Milan being invaded and the present Duke disturbed in his possession. Under the new aspect of things the ambassadors are very much in doubt as to how this last article of the convention is to be settled, for these people are sure to prefer the Duke to the Emperor for their neighbour.
Your Lordship must hold for certain that the Venetians, notwithstanding all their protestations and assurances to the contrary, are very much alarmed and concerned at the intended movements of the Imperial army; they are now collecting their resources and drawing money from every quarter.
Have already informed your Lordship that the very moment Morono's arrest was announced they (the Venetians) despatched a courier to Rome in all haste.
Matters being in the present condition it would be of the utmost importance for the Imperial service to have in this city (Venice) some trusty person to report on the doings of this Signory. Beg to know whether, in case of such person being found, they (the ambassadors) would be authorised to devote to that object a sum of 300 crowns. If the answer be in the affirmative, he (Sanchez) is ready to advance it out of his own pocket.
(Common writing:) Have been told by the ambassadors of the Duke of Ferrara that the Signory sent, the other day, for them, and said that their master's application for a safe-conduct through France had been denied. It would appear that Madame the Regent had sent him word that if he was to visit her he might come without a safe-conduct, and be welcome; but that if his intention was to go to Spain, she wanted first to know the object of his journey, (fn. n1) in order to grant or refuse his application accordingly. The ambassadors knew no more about it than what the Signory had told them; even this they did not give as positively certain. (Cipher:) It might, after all, be only an invention of some people who are desirous of preventing the Duke's journey to Spain, for there can be no doubt that some citizens of this place are doing all they can to gain that object.
(Common writing:) Yesterday the ambassador of the Duke of Milan (Taverna) came with letters from his master, begging him (Caracciolo) to attend his court, if possible, as he wanted very particularly to see him, and requesting him (Sanchez) to prevail upon his colleague to undertake the journey. Caracciolo answered that his health was so indifferent that he could not possibly go [to Milan], and that, besides, he dared not move from Venice without the Emperor's order or your Lordship's permission. Sanchez sent the same answer, but offered his services in other ways.
The same Milanese ambassador told them of certain proposals which Bracamonte is said to have made to the Duke, and what his Excellency replied thereto. After visiting them for that purpose the ambassador went to call on the Signory, as he said, to make a similar communication to them. Have not seen him since.
(Cipher:) Had written so far when a secretary of the Signory called, under some specious pretence, but in reality with a view to resume the suspended negotiation, and with more disposition to come to terms than they had shown hitherto; for it must be said that the late events, though not much to their liking, have had the effect of rendering them somewhat more tractable in these matters. It is therefore very important that your Lordship should send them an answer as soon as possible respecting the Duke of Milan, and the article relating to him; for if negotiations are resumed, they (the ambassadors) will soon come to a standstill, owing to the circumstance that, in the said treaty, which was drawn in obedience to the Emperor's orders, the Duke figures as one of the principal contracting parties.—Venice, 21 of Oct. 1525.
Indorsed: "Copy of the letter written by the Ambassadors at Venice to the Marquis of Pescara. 21 Oct. 1525."
Spanish. Contemporary deciphering. pp. 8.
22 Oct. 237. The Same to the Same.
Re. Ac. d. Hist.
Salazar, A. 36,
f. 67.
After writing this morning, and answering his Lordship's letter of the 16th inst., the ambassadors have been informed that the senators are somewhat divided in opinion, some of them being for throwing off the mask and immediately relieving Carmona (Cremona), imagining that if his Lordship cannot take possession of that city it will be no easy matter to secure the rest of the estate. Others are for defending their own territory, and waiting until they are attacked, rather than running wilfully into danger.
Such is the state of things at present, and the Signory is by no means decided as to what course to follow. It is said that their infantry companies being very deficient in men, orders have been issued to fill up the vacancies, to the number of 8,000 men. This they (the ambassadors) have from a trusty person, to whom they are often indebted for very valuable information. The same party has assured them that there was really a league concluded between the Pope, France, Venice and Milan, and that nothing was wanting but France's signature to the treaty. Seeing, however, the decisive manner in which his Lordship has thwarted their plans, they are astonished and confused, and know not how to act. Their informant is of opinion that they will drop this matter altogether. The ambassadors imagine that if they do so it is merely owing to their expecting an answer from Rome, whither, as his Lordship was duly informed by their letter of the 21st, they despatched a messenger the moment they heard of Morono's arrest.—Venice, 22 of Oct. 1525.
Signed: "Prothonotary Caracciolo," "Alonso Sanchez."
Indorsed: "Copy of letter from the Imperial Ambassadors in Venice to the Marquis de Pescara."
Spanish. p. 1.
25 Oct. 238. Morono's Confession.
S. E. L. Denies the Marquis' right to take him prisoner, and to proceed against him. Is not a subject of the Emperor, and therefore not under Imperial jurisdiction. In order, however, to avoid stronger measures (ne deteriora mihi contingent), he (Morono) will tell the whole affair about which he is examined, "ne ad violentiam examinis mendacii culpam," &c.
The Italian powers suspected that the Emperor intended to take the duchy of Milan for himself. Thomas del Mayno was sent [to Spain] to procure the investiture; and the answer he brought back confirmed their suspicions. This was one of the reasons why the King of France invaded Italy; if not positively invited by, at least with the approval of the Italians. When Lannoy brought the investiture, the grant was coupled with conditions so hard that the Duke declared he could not accept it. The general opinion at the time was that the Emperor had sent the investiture only in order to show an appearance of goodwill, especially as Lannoy showed letters in which he was commanded not to mention the investiture in the event of the French being driven out of Italy.
The Emperor gained his great victory (of Pavia), and consequently the Viceroy refused to treat about the investiture.
Beaurain now arrived with new proposals from the Emperor; but the conditions were such as to increase rather than allay the suspicions of the Italians.
The Viceroy suddenly grew very cold towards the Duke, who became afraid of the harm which he (the Viceroy) might do him at the Emperor's court.
Whilst things were in this state, an agent of Duke Massimiliano Sforza arrived [at Milan] with brilliant promises on the part of the King of France, such as the recognition of his (Francesco's) claims on Milan, the marriage of the Duke to a relative of the King, protection against the Emperor, &c.
The Duke consulted with him upon the matter; and it was decided to inform the Viceroy of the mission of the French agent. With Lannoy's consent and approval an agent was sent to France, not, indeed, to conclude any real treaty there, but only to learn what the French intended to do. Giovanni Stefano da Rubio (Robbio?) (fn. n2) was again despatched to France.
Domenico Sauli, a Genoese residing at Rome, and who was on intimate terms with the Datary (Giovanni Matheo Giberti) came, about this time, to Milan. He told the Duke that the Pope's wish was to secure him in the possession of his duchy, but that the Emperor intended to deprive him of it. The Pope (he said) had always preferred the King of France to the Emperor as lord of Milan; although it was his private opinion that neither of them should have estates in Italy. The Pope promised to do what he could for the Duke as if he were his own son, &c.
The Duke sent for him (Morono) to Milan from Pizzighitone, (fn. n3) where he was staying with the Viceroy, and ordered him to confer with Sauli. Sauli told him (Morone) that the Pope was very desirous of freeing Italy; that the Venetians entertained the same desire; that the Queen Regent of France (Louise of Savoy) might easily be persuaded to renounce all claims on Milan, to give the Duke a wife of the Royal blood of France, &c. Sauli told him [Moron] that the Duke said he disliked treating with the French alone, but was ready to do so conjointly with the Pope and the Venetians.
Went, the next day, to confer with the Duke, who received him in the garden of the castle. The conference lasted a long while.
Letters of Camillo Giulini, the Duke's secretary, arrived about this time from the Emperor's court, exhorting the Duke to accept the investiture on the Emperor's conditions, as he (the Duke) could not hope to obtain better ones. It was far preferable, he said, to be poor, though a Prince and Duke of Milan, than to lose all at once. The Duke and he (Morono) became more and more convinced that the Emperor's plan was to deprive the Duke of the investiture by impossible and captious conditions. At the same time the Viceroy demanded, with great insistance, the castle of Milan, in order to keep (as he said) the King of France prisoner there. He (the Viceroy) had been ordered by the Emperor to ask for the castle, in case the investiture was accepted and conferred; but the Emperor knew, all the time, that the investiture had not been given. The Duke was in the utmost despair during two or three days.
Cavalier Bilia was admitted into the secret. Bilia was sent to the Emperor in Spain, to ask for the investiture on more reasonable and equitable conditions. Robinus (Robbio) was sent to the Queen Regent of France to see whether the French still persisted in their offers. Sauli, on the other hand, went to Rome to confer with the Datary (Gianmatheo Giberti) and the Pope. He (Morono) was to negotiate in great secresy with the Venetian Proveditor (fn. n4) and the ambassador, both of whom were then at Crema, in order to ascertain the real intentions of the Signory. These two negotiations, viz., that with the Emperor concerning the investiture, and that with the Italian Princes, the Duke decided to conduct at the same time and with equal activity. That the Emperor might not afterwards reproach him with having secretly negotiated with France, he (the Duke) informed the Regent (Louise de Savoy) that he was only following the steps of the Pope and the Venetians in this affair, and that she herself must carry on negotiations with them. In like manner he begged the Pope and the Venetians to treat with France, promising to do whatever they should think proper and convenient. He trusted, however, that they would undertake nothing but what was for the common interest of all parties.
Although declining to carry on negotiations in his own name, the Duke wished to be informed daily of the state of things. Sauli was therefore ordered to correspond directly with him (Morono), not with the Duke. The Venetian ambassador was desired to do the same. From France, a merchant named Lucas de Carpanis, (fn. n5) the same who had previously come to Milan as envoy of Duke Maximilian, was to communicate with Duke Francesco.
Rubio (Robbio) has gone to France. The Duke instructed him to declare to the Queen Regent and her secretary, Robertet, that if they wished to conclude an alliance with him (Francesco), they were to treat at the same time with Venice and the Pope, as he himself would not negotiate alone. He (Morono) insisted, besides, on the whole affair being conducted in the name of the confederated powers. No separate league should be made; but the Duke, the Pope and Venice should conjointly enter into an alliance with France.
Rubio returned with an answer. He said that the Regent and Robertet had in nowise changed their minds with respect to the Italian league; but as they were then negotiating with the Emperor for the liberation of the French King, they thought that the greatest caution and reserve ought to be used with respect to Italian affairs. The Queen, however, promised to send her ambassadors, with sufficient powers, to Rome and Venice, and repeated her offers to the Duke Francesco.
Went to see the Viceroy, whom he met at Boghera, "in Oppido Viquerie," on his way to Genoa with the King of France. Communicated to him the whole of Rubio's report.
Before the latter's return from France, Bilia left [Milan] with a safe-conduct on his way to Spain through France. As he was in the secret, he was also instructed to speak to the Regent and Robertet. Bilia met Rubio at Lyons. He conferred with the Regent and Robertet, and found them both very desirous, "valde cupidi," to conclude the Italian league, and bring about the Duke's marriage. They asked him (Bilia), when at the Imperial court, not to be over solicitous or pressing in obtaining the investiture for the Duke Francesco, as the Italian league would most probably be concluded much sooner than the investiture would be given.
In compliance with the Duke's order, he (Morono) fixed the day and place for the Venetian Proveditor and ambassador, who were at Crema, to meet there "in villa Sancti Gerbasii ultra Addam ex regione Arcis Tricii." (fn. n6) The Venetians lauded much the Duke's patriotism and prudence. The Signory, they had no doubt, would accept the proposals. They would nevertheless write home for instructions; and as soon as an answer was obtained, would communicate with the Duke through the Venetian ambassador about to return to Milan.
Domenico [Sauli], who was to go to Rome, had meanwhile kept up a correspondence with the Datary (Giberti), and informed him of the Duke's friendly disposition. The Datary answered that the Pope was every day more bent on concluding the alliance.
Whilst Domenico Sauli was still at Milan, the Viceroy conveyed the French King to Spain. The Italian Princes and the Imperial army were surprised and offended at this measure. He (Morono) had reasons to believe that he (Pescara) was also dissatisfied with the Emperor. When he spoke to Sauli about it, Sauli told him he knew for a certainty that the Pope and the Venetians intended to gain him (Pescara) over to their party on whatever conditions he liked to name. They were ready to give him Naples and Sicily. Thought the moment favourable to inform him (Pescara) of such intentions, hoping that disappointment on one side, and the offer of great advantages on the other, would induce him to side with the Italians.
Availing himself of his old acquaintance with the Marquis, Morono began to speak in general terms about Italian schemes, and asked him his opinion on their probable result. He (Pescara) said he considered an alliance between France and the Italian Princes a most important step, which might, perhaps, deprive the Emperor of the kingdom of Naples. "Et cum in mentionem ipsius regni devenissemus, et ego interrogarem Excellentiam Vestram cuinam dari deberat, Ex. V. respondit nescire, sed non defecturum qui illud acciperet. Et ego subridendo dixi quod forte Excellentiæ Vestræ darent, si ipsa in eorum partes transire vellit, et pro illa via ulterius progressus non sum."
Conversed afterwards with Sauli, who assured him most positively that the Pope intended to give the fief of Naples to Pescara, if he would only espouse the Italian cause.
Spoke then to the Duke, who said that was an excellent idea, but added: "The negotiations must needs be conducted with the greatest caution, for fear he (Pescara) should reveal the whole plan. The Duke himself would not negotiate with Pescara, but said he should be glad if the thing could be done through someone else.
Sauli accordingly wrote to the Datary. The Datary answered, directing and empowering him (Morono) to offer the Marquis of Pescara, in the Pope's name, the Captain-Generalship of the Italian armies, with the kingdom of Naples for himself.
The Duke having approved of this plan, but refused, as above stated, to take a personal part in it, he (Morono) was obliged to undertake the negotiation. He asked Pescara for an audience, and when it was obtained, made him promise "fide boni militis et capitanei et viri nobilissimi," that what he was about to communicate he (Pescara) would not reveal to any living person, not even to His Imperial Majesty, but would hear it to the end, and then give such an answer as his consummate wisdom might dictate. His Excellency gave his word of honour to keep the matter secret; and accordingly he (Morono), knowing that the proposal he had to make to him was most weighty and well worthy of his consideration; being, besides, aware that he (the Marquis) was very indignant, (fn. n7) did not hesitate to open his mind to him, and explain the views of the Pope and Datary. The Marquis' answer was that he held his honour and reputation above all things, and that all the dignities and kingdoms in the whole world would be no compensation to him for the loss of it; he would rather part with life than have his fame sullied. (fn. n8) He could not desert His Imperial Majesty, whose vassal and subject he was, as well as Commander-in-Chief of his forces in Italy, to go and serve other people. If, however, there was anything he (Pescara) could do to please His Holiness without actually impairing his honour, he was ready to accept the offers, in order to show that he was somebody, and could revenge the injuries done to him; also that he might enjoy the favour of the Pontiff and the rest of the Italian Princes, not only as regarded the said Captain-Generalship of their armies, but as to the possession of the crown of Naples, as he thought nothing could be greater or more glorious for him than to become a king in his own native country. (fn. n9)
His Excellency added that he would consider, as he (Morono) ought also to do, how he could be justified if he were to accept the Pontiff's offers; and they agreed to renew the conference another day, the Marquis having again given his most solemn promise not to reveal what passed between them.
On the following days Morono saw and frequently conversed with the Marquis, whose advice was that he (Morono) should try and prevail upon the Pope not to insist on the Marquis declaring his intentions more definitely, but be sure that if the above-mentioned offers were again made he (the Marquis) would be found very well disposed to accept them.
Did as he was asked. All was reported to the Pope in the best possible form by Domenico Sauli. The Marquis, moreover, asked him (Morono) to put the whole in writing, adding that his commission from the Emperor ended on the 15th of August; he would then resign his command and all his dignities and offices, as this would be the only way of saving his honour.
The affair was thus far advanced when the Duke (Sforza) sent Sauli to the Pope. Sauli wrote his instructions with his own hand; and the Duke was so cautious in the matter that he ordered Sauli not to show them even to the Pope, nor to make any special proposals, but only to assure the Pope that himself and his duchy were aft his entire disposal for any arrangement or stipulations he might be pleased to make.
The Duke gave Sauli credentials to the Pope and the Datary, ordering him to show them [at Rome], and afterwards bring them back to Milan. The Duke, moreover, ordered him (Morono) to instruct Sauli more at large, and verbally, which he did.
Meanwhile the Venetian ambassador, whom he (Morono) had seen at St. Gervasio, communicated to the Duke and to Morono the answer which he had received from the Signory. The Venetians praised much the wisdom and patriotism of the Duke, and promised him to do nothing except what would be advantageous to him, to the Holy Father, and to the Italian Princes in general.
It was then that the Duke (Sforza) ordered that whatever communications had to be sent to Rome or Venice on this matter should be drawn out and written in his (Morono's) name, not in that of the Duke's, which was done as he desired. (fn. n10)
Domenico [Sauli] then wrote many letters from Rome, reporting the goodwill of the Pope, of the Datary, and of the Venetians, the mission of Sigismund, the secretary of Alberto di Carpi, to France, &c. He also sent a copy of the petition which the Italians were to address to the Regent of France, asking her protection and alliance.
Morono informed the Marquis of Pescara of all this. It was then agreed between them that the Pope should send somebody with full power to repeat and confirm all that he (Morono) had promised the Marquis. The Pope made some difficulties about this, not trusting entirely to the Marquis; but at last he sent a servant of the Datary, called Bonamenta or Mentabona, with Apostolic credentials. He (Morono) conducted the envoy to Pavia, where he (the Marquis was residing at the time. Introduced him one night into the Marquis' apartments. Was not present at the conference. The Papal envoy told him (Morono) that the Marquis had returned him the Papal credentials, and he (Bonamenta) went back to Rome much satisfied. Told him that the Marquis only wished to have a declaration in the Pope's hand showing that he (the Marquis) would not be acting against his honour and reputation if he accepted the offers. That done, he would sign the treaty. He (the Marquis) ordered him (Morono) to make a draft of the articles, send one copy to Rome, and give the other to him. Did both, as desired.
The conclusion of the alliance with France was much delayed. Believes the league is not yet made. Sigismundo left for France, but never returned. No one knows what became of him. Although the Pope and the Venetians afterwards sent other envoys, (fn. n11) the Regent of France delayed her decision. Informed the Marquis of all these facts.
At this conjuncture an envoy from the Imperial court arrived, informing the Duke that the Emperor, in his clemency, had given him the investiture of the Duchy on more advantageous conditions, and that the instrument was already in Bilia's hands. Bilia wrote to confirm the statement, which was soon in everybody's mouth throughout Italy. The Duke (Sforza) was then already in bad health. He, nevertheless, held a conference with the Marquis in the castle of Milan respecting the affairs of Italy. In this conference, as the Duke afterwards informed him (Morono), the Marquis was of opinion that the negotiations ought to be abandoned. The Duke thought, on the contrary, that they ought to continue, as never again would such a good opportunity offer itself. The Marquis agreed with the Duke, who resolved to accept the investiture from the Emperor, but still continue his relations with the Italian Princes; chiefly because he did not wish to appear faithless, but also because of the pending negotiations with France, which seemed likely to be protracted; he would thus gain time to decide which course to follow afterwards. Ordered him (Morono) to write to Rome, saying that, notwithstanding the investiture and its acceptance, he (the Duke) had not changed his mind, but wished no resolution to be taken without his knowledge and consent, as he reserved to himself the right of deciding which side to take as most suitable to his own interests.
Soon after this the Duke's illness increased so much that he took no part whatever in the negotiations which Morono had commenced with the Marquis of Pescara, but left him the entire management of the affair. Whenever Morono had occasion to speak to him on the subject, he was told that he could not be more strictly bound than he was already. The Duke, however, sometimes asked him (Morono) whether the Marquis still persevered in his purpose. Morono answered, "Yes, he does," and the Duke replied, "So much the better."
During the height of the Duke's illness, Sauli was recalled from Rome, and Cavalier Landriano sent in his stead. Landriano wrote to say that the Regent of France (Louise of Savoy) had given in her answer. He asked him (Morono) to see the Marquis, and tell him, in the Pope's name, that the answer from France had come, but that, in reality, it contained less than had been promised at first. About this time the opinion of certain doctors, who, according to the Marquis' wishes, had been consulted on the matter, came from Rome, stating that the Marquis was in honour bound to obey the Pope, and he (Morono) was accordingly desired to inform the Pope of the Duke's intentions and purposes.
Unable to see him, Morono wrote to ask for an interview. Saw the Duke, and proposed that the Marquis' opinion should be heard first. The Duke approved of this measure, and ordered him (Morono) to see the Marquis. As soon as his illness permitted him to move, he (Morono) went to Novara, and called on the Marquis, who was also suffering from illness at the time. Stated his business in a few words, and asked for an answer in the name of the Pope, as well as in that of the Duke. Waited some time for it, and was ultimately arrested by the Marquis.
Whilst negotiations were pending in France the Pope and the Venetians insisted upon his (Morono's) persuading the Duke to conclude a purely defensive alliance with them. Conferred on the subject with the Duke, who decided that he (Morono) should write [to Rome], excusing the Duke and himself on the plea of the gravity of the Duke's illness, which did not permit him to transact any business. Answered, moreover, that such an alliance as the one proposed could not be of any advantage to the Duke.
It was further proposed that the Italian Princes alone, without France, should conclude an alliance to liberate their country [from servitude]. The Nuncio spoke to the Marquis about this, and the Marquis dissuaded him from it, declaring that it would be too dangerous an experiment. The Duke was of the same opinion as the Marquis, and wrote to Rome in that sense.
This is the true account of the whole transaction; the Marquis knows it as well as he (Morono) does. Besides, the Marquis has in his possession (Morono's) letters to him, and copies of those of Sauli and others, which fully confirm the statement. Confesses that the letters directed to the Marquis, and dated Milan, 10th, 11th, and 24th of August; also those of the 19th, 23d, and 27th of the same month; and the papers dated the 3d, 5th (there are two of this date), 14th, 22d, 25th, and 28th of September, and 2d, 7th, and 8th of October, are all written by himself (Morono) or by his own secretary. Recognizes the annexed letters and papers of Landriano, Sauli, &c. as true copies.
Wishing to conceal nothing, he (Morono) must add that the Pope and the Venetians, during the Duke's dangerous illness, and fearing lest he should die, asked him (Morono) to see that the duchy of Milan should not pass into the hands of the Emperor. They, moreover, promised him (Morono) all help and assistance in case he wished to have himself appointed to the Duchy; or, if he had no such wish, to promote Maximilian's accession. Answered that he did not harbour so ambitious a design. The Pope and the Venetians then asked the Queen Regent of France, in the event of the Duke's death, to send Maximilian over with an army. Maximilian often wrote to him (Morono) and to other Milanese gentlemen, such as Giovanni Paolo Sforza, his own brother, Sforzino and others, about this matter, asking him to espouse his cause, and help him in his projects. Refused to do so. Asked the Marquis and the Duke of Bourbon not to leave Milan, but remain to defend it against Maximilian and his party in the event of Duke Francesco's death. When Giovanni Paolo Sforza and Sforzino consulted him (Morone) on the subject, at the castle of Milan, and asked what was to be done in the event of the Duke's demise, he advised them to surrender that fortress to Pescara on honourable conditions, rather than give it up to anyone else. Left his residence "in curia magna," and went to the Duke's, in the castle, to defend him against Maximilian's party, in case of any revolution being attempted to deprive him of his ducal crown.
"Cogor pro honore meo et salute mea repetere quæ a principio dixi de invaliditate et injustitia capturæ detentionisque meæ, ac interrogationis et responsionum suprascriptarum; ac intendo confirmare repetita in omni actu, facto et faciendo. Rogoque Ex. V. ut fidei suæ memor libertati meæ me restituat, et sibi me commendo.—Datum in arce Papiæ, xxv. Octobris 1525, Exmi Dni V., humilis servitor, Hieronymus Moronus."
I, the undersigned Antonio de Austria, public notary, &c., do certify my own presence and that of the undersigned witnesses at the above confession. The said Hieronymo Morono declared the above letter,—dated from the Castle of Pavia, the 25 of October 1525,—to have been written by him and addressed to Fernando Davalos de Aquino, Captain-General of the Imperial armies in Italy: which letter (he said) contains the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Signed: "Antonio de Austria—Castle of Pavia, 5 Dec. 1525."
Latin. Original. Pp. 36.


  • n1. "Que si queria ir á ella podria ir sin salvo conducto, que le haria buena xera (chère), y que para ir en España era menester saber á que iba."
  • n2. See above, p. 371.
  • n3. The original has Pizleonis, which I take to be meant for Pizzighitone. Whilst describing the tower or castle where Francis I. was at first kept prisoner, F. Leandro Alberti Bolognese says: "Picighitone civile & ricco castello & molto pieno di popolo, da i letterati detto Piceleonis, oue fecce una rocca Filippo Maria Visconte Duca di Milano ....... A Picighitone fu condotto Francesco I. Re di Franzia da Carlo della Noia, &c., Descrittione di tutta l'Italia, 1577,4o, f. 406.
  • n4. Piero da Cà da Pesaro was at this time Proveditor-General.
  • n5. Lucca Carpensis, or from Carpi?
  • n6. Trezzo?
  • n7. "Et quod videbatur mihi res altas et desiderabilia proponere, et quod sciebam Excm Vm valde indignatum esse."
  • n8. "Respondit Exa Va se ante omnia in consideratione habere honorem suum, quem non commutaret cum omnibus dignitatibus et regnis mundi, et cuius amissionem aut læsionem pluris faciebat quam propriæ vitæ."
  • n9. "Sed quod in casu quo posset honorem salvare facturum erat quiquid Pontifex requirebat, ut ostenderet se aliquem esse, et posse injurias vindicare, et etiam ut frueretur gratia Pontificis et aliorum Italorum, tum in dicto Capitanato-Generali quam in obtinendo et conservando regno Neapolitano, existimans quod nihil sibi maius, nihil gravius, nihil gloriosius contingere in vita sua posset quam in patria sua in Regem prosilire. "Dixitque Exa Va quod et ipsa cogitaret, et ego quoque cogitare deberem, qua ratione posset excusari si Pontificis oblationes acceptasset, et in aliam diem delata fuit, repetita semper fide per Exm Vm ut supra dixi data."Diebus postea sequentibus conveni sæpe cum Exa Va et sibi visum fuit quod deberem dare operam apud Pontificem quod Sua Sanctitas requireret Exm Vm non aperiendo Suæ Sanctitati quod iam Exa Va haberet huius negotii notitiam, sed persuadendo Suæ Sanctitati quod si Exm Vm tentaret reperiret in ea optimam dispositionem modo sibi offerret memoratas conditiones."
  • n10. "Et tunc Illmus Dux mihi ordinavit quod imposterum totum illud quod contigeret scribere in hujusmodi materia Romam et Venecias debere scribere et expedire nomine meo proprio et non suo, et ita feci."
  • n11. A Florentine named Leonardo Spina was, about this time, sent by the Pope to France. See a letter abstracted by Rowdon Brown, Venet. Stat. Papers, vol. III., p. 474.