Spain: July 1530, 16-25

Pages 642-659

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 4 Part 1, Henry VIII, 1529-1530. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1879.

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July 1530, 16-25

16 July. 380. Clement VII. to the Emperor.
S. E. Rom. L.
850, f. 136.
B. M. Add. 28,580,
f. 264.
Thanks him for his letter and the instructions to the prince of Orange. Has no doubt that, victory being obtained, Florence will be saved from destruction. Hopes that the undertaking will be soon brought to an end; for although the Prince himself has it much at heart, the recommendations of the Emperor cannot fail to produce good effect, and quicken his energies still further. Wishes very much to see the Emperor completely freed from these Italian affairs, that he may the sooner attend to those of Germany.—Rome, 16th July 1530.
Italian. Holograph. p. 1.
18 July. 381. Miçer Mai to the Emperor.
S. E. L. 849,
ff. 35-6.
B. M. Add. 28,580,
f. 265.
The Pope received last night letters from the camp stating that the Florentines, or rather Malatesta Baglione, who is there in command, had requested the prince of Orange to send Ferrante Gonzaga to them, for they wished to capitulate. The Prince answered that if they (the Florentines) agreed first to restore the supremacy of the Medici, and deliver hostages for the security of those who went into Florence to treat, he would send Gonzaga and others.
The Pope has decided to send thither some of the Florentines tines of his own party now residing at Rome, as more apt from their knowledge of the country, and experience of administration, to discuss the preliminaries of a capitulation, and would willingly have sent also the archbishop of Capua (Schomberg), had the state of his health been better, but he is still very weak.
The most important points of the negociation seem to be as follows : 1st, To prevent the sack of Florence; 2nd, To decide what is to be done with Malatesta, who the Pope imagines will ask to be restored to the possession of Perosa (Perugia); 3rd, To prevent the French squire, whom they call count de Pontiemolo, (fn. n1) from interfering as he has come to do; 4th, And last, to settle how the Imperial army is to be disposed of after the surrender of Florence.
As to the first point, measures have been taken to prevent the sack, and if the men are only paid, there will be no difficulty.
As to Malatesta's return to Perugia, as he was before, there might be some objection raised, owing to his restless humour, and the vicinity of that town to the kingdom of Naples. It is, therefore, for Your Majesty to decide, and send us instructions on this point.
With regard to the army, my opinion is that Italy cannot be left entirely without troops in the unsettled state in which things are. Since the Germans want to go home, let them go, and let 3,000 or 4,000 Spaniards, be selected, men of military experience and probity, who might go to Naples and become in case of need the nucleus of an army of 20,000, recruited in 10 days among their own comrades. The next batch might remain at the orders of the marquis del Vasto, and the remainder, who are regular scoundrels (vellacos), fearing neither God nor Your Majesty, be dismissed, and return to their several crafts. The same might be done with the Italians.
Went to see Tarbes, and complimented him on the delivery of the Royal hostages, adding that as soon as I heard of the consummation of the marriage, I would not fail to do what was proper in the way of rejoicings, &c.
As a return for my courtesy he (Tarbes) went the other day to the Pope, and said to him that the news of Florence was not true; it was a pure invention on the part of the Prince and myself to prevent the Frenchman (Francesco) from taking part in the negociations.
Having heard that Alberto di Carpi was likely to succeed him in this embassy, I asked him who was coming in his place. He told me that a councillor of the most Christian King, a man of the long robe (ropa largo). who some supposed to be a natural son of king Charles [VIII.] was the person designated, and that he had the reputation of being a very honourable man. The truth is that Alberto di Carpi under the plea of visiting his wife, and perhaps also for change of air—the climate of France no longer being to his taste—is coming to Rome.
Letters from France speak of a marriage between one of the daughters of the king of Poland and the duke of Orleans.
Niño writes from Venice that Renzo de Ceri, and the rest of the "fuorusciti" of Naples have left for France; and that count Guido Rangone had letters from that country saying that the most Christian King thought of nothing but pleasure, hunting, &c., and would not listen to business of any sort.
The Pope has sent a bishop to visit Madame [Margaret], who is to be the wife of his nephew Alessandro. He has returned bringing back her portrait.
There was here some suspicion that the Sienese were on the point of joining the Florentines, and making common cause with them. Wrote to Don Lope de Soria about it, and he tells me that after every possible inquiry he finds the report to be untrue.
(Cipher:) The Pope has letters from the governor of Piacenza stating that a Genoese (whom he does not name) passed through that city, and reported that there was much discontent in Genoa, owing to Andrea Doria's late [unsuccessful] expedition to the coast of Africa, in which several citizens had been slain.
(Common writing:) This baron del Borgo, who has gone to England as Papal Nuncio, came lately from Sicily, where he held a similar post. His business here (at Rome) was to obtain the ratification of certain stipulations about the "monarchy of that island," which had been previously agreed upon between the Viceroy and him.
The countess of Camerata came here some time ago intending to speak to Your Majesty about her law-suit, when there was a talk of the journey to Naples. She is now endeavouring to marry her daughter to the son of the president of the Summaria in that kingdom, which does not seem to me quite a right thing.
The duke of Ferrara has written to me and to Andrea de Borgo begging us not to attach faith to the many slandering reports circulated about his person. He is not, as he assures us ungrateful, and will never forget the many favors received at Your Majesty's hands. His ambassador besides has called upon us and explained the circumstances that gave rise to the rumours about him. We have accepted his excuses, but it will not be so easy to convince the Pope.
Saturday, the 16th, the courier dispatched by the Legate (Campeggio) arrived. Next day I called on His Holiness, and read to him Your Majesty's letter, which he requested me to leave with him, as the Legate's, he said, was not sufficiently clear. He promised that to-day, Monday, he would summon a congregation of the cardinals who have been particularly entrusted with the affair [of the Lutherans]. He said that if Your Majesty be appointed judge of these matters (juez de estas cosas), and in the meantime they (the Lutherans) live as Catholics (catholicamente), he would not object to the holding of a council, provided it was not convoked until universal peace were established, and he added that if the council could be, as had been proposed at other times, national not general, so much the better.
This matter of the Council is so important that I do not hesitate to say what the general feeling about it here [at Rome] is. It is considered that were the state of affairs in Germany to allow of it, it would be wise to delay holding it as much as possible, or still better to prevent it altogether, because at these present times a general council would doubtless be equally pernicious spiritually as temporally, for in order to check this spreading evil of the Lutheran and other errors it will be necessary to acquiesce in some of their demands. This might be done much better without a council, for if any concession be made to the Germans, other nations are sure to ask for similar ones. Besides which, the affairs of Christendom not being yet as well settled as might be desired, and the inclinations of princes not being uniform, a schism might spring up in the Church, which may God forbid. This as to the spiritual point of view; in the temporal I see another danger, for if Your Imperial Majesty attends the council the French king is sure to go thither also, for the very same purpose for which, during our stay at Bologna, he proposed an interview in Savoy; and although interviews of this kind may do good if the parties are animated by the same sentiments, (cipher:) I would by no means advise their being held at a council where not only the most Christian King will attend, but likewise all, or the greater part of the Christian princes with their individual passions and purposes, all trying to model a new world after their own fashion, as is the case with all those who are not satisfied with what they already have. (Common writing:) Should even the said princes not attend the council personally, they would at least send thither their proctors and deputies, and from them still worse might be apprehended, for they would push their masters' affairs with 'still greater impudence, and it might happen that for the sake of correcting the German errors we should give cause for greater ones to arise.
Your Majesty may easily believe (cipher:) if that if the king of England knew that a general council was to be held, he would wait a year or two without proceeding in the cause, in the hope that, with the help of his friends and adherents, a constitution would be made in his favour such as that which he demanded of the Pope a year ago, and that he will not consent to any other conclusion of the Sacred Council, however holy and good it may be, without his own business being settled first or at the same time. Other princes might, like the king of England, have their own particular designs, and attend exclusively to their own particular interests , as generally happens in congregations where there is no superior. I know very well that the necessity is great, that other remedies are not at hand, and that there is no time to think of others in matters as mighty and important as this present, in which it would be dangerous to err.
I think, nevertheless, that it would be advantageous on the whole, if the object could not be gained by negotiation, to treat about a national council. The Germans might possibly agree to it more readily, and the Romans (los de acà) also, because these last, as I said before, would lose less by making some concessions to the Germans in particular than by having to give the same to other nations, for the Germans are already in possession of most of their demands, and these Romans have already made up their minds to that. In this manner the discussion of the points might be more easily conducted; the Germans might appoint deputies for their council; Your Majesty would name yours, the Pope his, and it might happen that the parties would come to an agreement. This national council might come to an end whenever it pleased Your Majesty, or it might be prorogued or the place of meeting changed much more easily than a general one.
I have just this moment returned from the Palace, and the Pope tells me that the negociations at Florence have been broken off in consequence of the Prince having told the Florentines that he will not consent to the proposed capitulation unless they begin by acknowledging the supremacy of the Medici, which they have resolutely refused to do.
Squire François (fn. n2) arrived last night, sent by the king of France. I hear that, being interrogated at a house where he visited as to his master's intentions respecting Florence, he answered that the king of France wished the Imperialists to evacuate Italy as soon as possible, and, therefore, he had been sent to induce the Florentines to surrender, and that positive orders had accordingly been sent to Renzo da Ceri and count Guido Rangone to dismiss the troops under their command.
The Venetian ambassador in France and his conversation with king Francis.
The English ambassadors said yesterday that they had obtained the opinions of the university of Paris in a body (collegialmente). On that account I have to-day related to His Holiness all the news I had from Venice, and urged him to grant me the brief as soon as possible.
The Pope tells me that at the congregation held to-day it was decided that he and the cardinals would see with pleasure Your Majesty's appointment as judge of the German differences; the Council to be summoned for any time Your Majesty may fix, provided it should not interfere with matters of Faith, and as to the reformation of ecclesiastics, that His Holiness will be glad to have a memorandum of the excesses complained of in order to have them addressed.—Rome, 18th July 1530.
Signed: "Mai."
Addressed: "To the most August Majesty of the Emperor and King, our Sovereign Lord."
Spanish. Original. pp. 4.
18 July. 382. The Same to the Same.
B.M. Add 28,580,
f. 279.
On the receipt of His Majesty's letter of the 28th ulto, I called on the Pope, and conferred with him respecting the affair of the divorce. Had previously a consultation with the Imperial lawyers, those of His Majesty and those of the Queen, and with cardinal d'Osma, when it was agreed on all hands that as we were on the eve of the vacation it was best to prosecute as many terms as we could, in order that the king of England might not suppose that we were going to give up the game, and on the other hand that they (the Imperial lawyers) might tell the Pope they were ready to obey his commands. So it was done. I communicated to His Holiness Your Majesty's instructions respecting the affair, which were reduced to this: "if the English in the meantime abstain from soliciting votes in their favour, a suspension of the proceedings may be agreed upon." His Holiness' answer was that since the last brief would effectually forbid the universities giving opinions in a body (collegialmente), he did not consider it quite right to prevent the King and us from seeking the same individually. As to the King proceeding de facto, there was, he said, no fear of it, for it was expressly forbidden by the "litis pendentia" and afterwards by the brief itself, and it would not be right to shew suspicion in the matter, especially as information has reached us [from England] that were the King to wish for a new marriage, fear of the scandal likely to be raised among his subjects would actually deter him from his purpose. (fn. n3) This avowal Casale himself made once to the Pope, and afterwards confirmed to me.
The third paragraph in the instructions intimates that the King in the meantime is to separate from that other woman, and live in matrimony with his wife. This is likewise contained in the brief, and, moreover, as we concede nothing to them that is not already their own (for after all the suspension of the cause during the holidays they will gain against our will), it is thought inexpedient to urge the case any more. But it must also be said that the Pope agrees and the Cardinal (fn. n4) approves, "that the King shall nevertheless be admonished to separate in the meantime from the woman on account of the scandal of such an intercourse, especially as he professes to insist on his purpose merely for conscience sake, which people will believe more readily if he actually keeps aloof from her."
As I informed Your Majesty [in my despatch of the 18th], the Pope is now sending to England as nuncio the baron del Borgo, who served (fn. n5) Your Majesty in Sicily at the time of the revolt of that island. He came over here with the count of Luna, when the son of the latter nobleman married pope Leo's niece. (fn. n6) Owing to his reputation and learning, that Pope, and after him Clement VII., employed him on various commissions; and although when I first came to Rome there was some suspicion that in Your Majesty's affairs, and especially during the Clementine league, he (Borgo) had not always behaved as was to be expected of him, yet I could never find sufficient ground for the accusation. I think, therefore, that since the Pope has agreed to send him, he may do good service in this English business, because he is well fitted for thetask of making the King pause in his undertaking, to which end he takes from hence full instructions. He (the Baron) is to persuade the King to abandon his present purpose, or else come here [to Rome] of his own accord about the cause, and to state positively to him that if he does not come, the Pope must let the law take its full course in this case. (fn. n7)
The Baron tells me that he is very glad of this opportunity of serving Your Majesty, and clearing himself of any suspicion. He explained to me that when this Pope appointed him to act as commissary against the Colonnese, he at first declined, but was compelled to accept that office, which he resigned as soon as the Viceroy [Charles de Lannoy] came to Frusolone. He also asked me whom he could consult whilst in England respecting the Queen's business. Told him that he could entirely trust the Imperial ambassador (Chapuys) there. Among other papers he takes to England I have contrived that he should have a copy of the dispensation obtained by the King to marry with the present Queen, notwithstanding her being his brother's widow. (fn. n8) He says that if nothing else will avail, he will make use of it as the last resource.
The vacations having begun, I have, with the Pope's consent, applied for a commission to proceed in the cause during the holidays. This has, of course, been refused, and, as I have since heard from the bishop of Castellamare, there were not wanting at the Pope's "signatura," cardinals who went still further, and remarked that the cause was far too important to be conducted in such an illegal manner, and by "contradicta," as they call it here, or as we say in Castille, por contumacia de la parte. Your Majesty, indeed, may be sure that they (the English ambassadors) will attempt anything to carry their point.
I wrote to Your Majesty that soon after my arrival in Rome I prosecuted the cause, and made certain acts (enautos), which are here called "termini," and that on the 1st of June all of them were revoked by the Auditor (Ghinucci), not that he considered them unjust, or disapproved of the manner of proceeding, but because he said he had orders from the Pope not to go on with the cause unless notice was given to him first. This circumstance the Auditor had forgotten, and therefore the acts were to be considered null, as on account of the said mandate he had no jurisdiction in the matter. After this I got the Pope to command the Auditor to go on with the cause and let the law take its course. I began again to prosecute the terms, and made as many as I could until the holidays commenced.
Since the revocation made by the Auditor (Ghinucci), the English ambassadors have begged me to renounce these new terms (terminos), on the plea that by so doing much hold may be gained on the King's mind. This I have refused, because I consider it a most impudent demand, and because I was shocked at the message which His Holiness afterwards sent me, purporting that if I agreed to the new proposal, and the result was not what we expected, he would, before the end of the vacations, give me a commission to prosecute the cause, and begin again. I insisted upon my refusal for fear this should become a pretext to throw disrepute on the Queen's affairs, and thereby gain the opinions of the English divines, who are by no means in favour of the divorce. And they must be thankful that I did not insist upon getting from the Pope the very commission which the cardinals refused to me, though, to say the truth, my desistance was more owing to the fear of its not being granted, and thereby annoying the Pope, than to any other consideration. After all, two months are soon over, and we shall resume the proceedings with greater vigour. In the meantime authentic copies of all treaties of alliance and league made at the time of the marriage of the Queen, first with prince Arthur, and afterwards with king Henry, should be sent to me, for I have nothing ready in the shape of documents and deeds to found the process upon. I have likewise written to England for any they may have there, although, as I am informed, it will be rather difficult to obtain authentic copies of them, this being one of the reasons why all diligence must be used in gaining the King's good-will. If no success attend our plans, it will be for God to direct the course of events, and help in so just a cause. The English ambassadors, on the other hand, though all or most of them recognize the justice of our case, and acknowledge it also, are all this time concocting most diabolical plans to gain their object. Lately they have dispatched to England no less than three or four couriers in eight days, for what purpose I have been unable to ascertain. At first I feared it might be for some matter connected with the matrimonial cause; since then I have learned that they were sent exclusively on that account, and that every little incident that occurs they send home for consultation, having already spent considerable sums of money in this service.
I was told by the Pope the other day that there was a talk of certain changes (novedades) likely to take place in France immediately after the restitution of the hostages, and that the English would be the promoters of them.
I have been asked from Naples for a memorandum of the doubtful points and objections (dudas) raised in this cause. I will send it to them, but I cannot understand why similar ones are not forwarded to Sicily and Mallorca, where many learned and acute (vivos) lawyers reside.
As I have overheard, these English ambassadors are again trying to have the suit tried out of Rome, as they did propose formerly on other occasions. This, however, is a thing which I will never accede to as I have declared to them and to the Pope also, because at Bologna Your Majesty's councillors decided that no safer place could be selected for judgment of this trial than Rome, and may God be pleased that it may be so. I thought it was better to undeceive them on this particular, and I did so that they might not build hopes on that score.
The bishop of London (Stokesley) has been all this time at Venice, Padua, and Vicenza, and is now returning to Bologna, for the sole and exclusive purpose of forwarding his master's interests. The Pope knows on good authority, as related by this same bishop at Venice, that the King would be glad, if he could, to avert judgment, and if he cannot, will not fail to appear personally and resume the cause, certain as he is that if the trial be proceeded on by "contraditta" or contumacy, the sentence will be against him. (fn. n9) —Rome, 13th July 1530.
After the above was written the Papal Nuncio in France advised that the most Christian King had said to him: "The king of England complains of the Pope, and not without reason. If they press him too hard, he will marry and cause his kingdom to renounce all obedience to the Apostolic See. In a few days the whole of England will address His Holiness about this." The Nuncio, they say, made a very adequate and proper reply to these words; but I am afraid that it will do no good, for although the brief, as I informed Your Imperial Majesty, was drawn up more than a month ago, the Pope still carries it in his pouch unsigned, and I cannot persuade him to send it on, though scarcely one day passes without my hammering (martilleo) upon this point. Let this, however, be kept a secret, because these are things between the Pope and myself only, and if they were to be bruited about the Nuncio would lose his credit [at the court of France], and we should lose the confidential advices which he from time to time forwards us.
Some time ago I informed Your Majesty that another brief had been issued at my request, forbidding people to counsel or give an opinion on this cause except according to truth and conscience, and "secundum canones et directum." By these words, which cardinal Sancti Quatuor himself added to the draft in my very presence, is meant "according to canon and civil law," which are the rights by which all causes are to be tried. Now the English ambassadors complain most loudly of this brief, alleging that their right and justice rests on the Bible and on Theology, which is divine right, and that any attempt to apply canon law to their cause is tantamount to making them lose their suit. These complaints had their origin here at Rome soon after the arrival of the ambassadors, who returned from England so inflated with pride, and uttering such violent language, that it really moves one to pity that the King and all his councillors and ministers should be so blind to reason, that when the Pope tells them that what they want is actually expressed in the brief, they answer: "If it be so let the brief be revoked at once and another one made." The Pope informs me that for the satisfaction of the English he intends to declare that "divine right" is likewise to be understood. I do not care if he does, provided the declaration is so worded that the English may not think that they can thus take us out of the entrenchments of canon law, and bend us to the divine right, in which case they might carry out their mad purpose (su locura), and it would be for us to complain, for after all canon law can forbid such marriages in order to avoid scandal, whereas Theology cannot dissolve them on that ground. (fn. n10) I have, therefore, begged the Pope to let me see the minute of the brief, that it may be couched in proper terms, and he has promised to do so.
I have letters from Rodrigo Niño, of the 11th July, from Venice, stating that the bishop of London (Stokesley) has been travelling through the territory of the Signory, and that lately, in Padua, he had found 11 friars to conclude, for 10 ducats each, that the Pope could not dispense in this case, although Niño says most of them are quite illiterate, and have besides the reputation of not leading a very moral life. In this manner has the Bishop obtained 150 votes, and is still looking out for more, saying to all those he meets that he does it with the will and consent of the Pope.
Baron de Borgo left yesterday for England. He came so suddenly to take leave, that I had no time to write to the Queen and to the ambassador through him; but my letters of advice will be there when he arrives.—Rome, 18th July 1530.
Signed: "Mai."
Addressed: "To His Sacred Majesty the Emperor and King, our Sovereign Lord."
Spanish. Original. pp. 6.
21 July. 383. Balthasar Carducci to the Dieci of Florence.
S. E L. 851,
f. 61.
B. M. Add. 28,580
f. 286.
Informed them in his last of the 15th how in consequence of the king of France refusing to give a categorical answer to his requests (se voler scoprir). he (Carducci) had to go from Bordeaux to Borgo (Bourges) by the Dordogne. How he saw the King at last, and held a long conference with him, which ended by his promising that on his arrival at Angoulême he (the King) would give orders that a sum of money (qualche summa di danari) should be provided for the defence of that city. Both lamented the misfortune of Malatesta's secretary, his arrest, and the deciphering of the correspondence whereof he was the bearer. Agreed that it was absolutely necessary to have the cipher changed. On his leaving the room the King said to him: "The more I think of what you have told me, the more sure am I that you need not go from me thus in despair, for I firmly believe that somehow or other you will be helped."
Knew very well that his words to the King would produce effect, and that what he (Carducci) told him respecting the fate of Florence, and indeed of all Italy, if that city should again fall into the Pope's hands, touched him to the quick, for he dislikes the Emperor's aggrandizement, and above all that Florence should again be under the rule of the Medici (which may God forbid). This in his opinion is the sole cause of the sudden change in our relations with this King, for the Pope, seeing himself placed in an awkward position should the sons of France be delivered according to the treaty of Cambray—has actually thrown out new hopes about this wretched divorce, in order to secure the friendship of the kings of England and France, and prevent their declaring openly (scoprirse) against him. The earl of Vilser (Wiltshire), however, having on his return to England spoken very freely, and made much scandal about the Pope, means for assisting our city have been found, and the Earl has confidently written to say that whenever this king decides to send us money his master will contribute with one half of the sum.
This king, moreover, is now trying to gain the Pope's confidence, all for the sake of England, to which these Frenchmen consider themselves very much indebted. So much so, that I consider this to be the cause of Francis' sudden change, the Pope having perhaps in his difficult position given out hopes of a settlement of that accursed divorce case after the liberation of the children. (fn. n11)
Indorsed : "Copy of an intercepted letter of the Florentine ambassador in France to the Gonfaloniere and Dieci."
Italian. Contemporary copy deciphered, pp. 4.
23 July. 384. Rodrigo Niño to the Emperor.
ff. 68-72.
B.M Add. 28,580
ff. 290-99.
The Emperor's letter of the 14th inst. came to hand on the 18th. The Ferrarese ambassador has taken in Moran (Murano), a suburb of this city, a house for his master, who they say, is coming here to spend a few days in September. The duke of Milan (Francesco Sforza) writes also to his agent here that he may be expected about the same time. He (Niño) has seen the letter in the Duke's own hand. If both come for any other purpose than that of enjoying themselves for a short time, as their respective agents proclaim, His Majesty shall be apprized in due time.
From France the news is that the liberation of the King's sons has been accomplished. A groom of Francis' chamber came the other day with letters for the Signory and for the French ambassador. He passed first through Milan, and then through Ferrara, at both which places he was handsomely entertained, and had besides a present as reward for the good news (albricias). He is now waiting for a similar present from this Signory to go away. The French ambassador and count Rangone illuminated their respective hotels, and the former gave a dinner to which all the ambassadors residing here were invited, himself (Niño) included. The Signory had made no demonstrations in this way yet, but had appointed two persons to go to France and offer their congratulations; one is Giovanni Pisano, the brother of the cardinal of that name, the other Giovanni Antonio Venier. The former is to come back immediately after delivering his message, the other (Venier) to remain at the court of France. Mr. de Praët ought to be acquainted with this, that he may ascertain whether the said ambassadors have any other object in view.
The Ferrarese ambassador says that he has a letter from the Duke, his master, to say that in order to shew to the King's groom of the Chamber that he is pleased with the liberation of the princes, and also not to offend his daughter-in-law [Renée], he has caused illuminations and other rejoicings to be made at Ferrara. His master considered this was an event at which all princes ought to rejoice. His (Niño's) answer was as courteous as could be, remarking that the Emperor had always considered the Duke as his best friend, and that there was no occasion for excusing himself &c The Emperor, he said, rejoiced as much as himself at the event.
When the news came of the death of Massimiliano Sforza he (Niño) was trying to ascertain the origin and cause of certain late transactions between him and his brother the Duke [of Milan]. It appears that this latter, considering himself unfit for marriage and generation, had at one time asked his brother (Massimiliano), who shewed some inclination to become an ecclesiastic, to relinquish that idea, and take a wife. To this Massimiliano consented on condition of having Como for his maintenance. Matters being in this state, the duke Francesco had asked permission to remit to his brother 2,000 ducats, which was granted, and the money sent. Soon after Massimiliano died, and he (Niño) cared not to make further inquiries. Ten days ago the bishop of Lodi (Ottaviano Sforza), who hates the Duke as the very Devil, called and said to him (Niño) that Francesco Sforza was highly discontented with the Emperor, and complained of the heavy sums of money he had to pay for the reinvestiture of the Duchy. Made inquiries here at Venice, and found that the Duke really owes this Signory 40,000 ducats, and as they press him for immediate payment, he has told them "that owing to the heavy sums he had to make over to the Emperor he is not in a condition to discharge his debt. They (the Venetians) were the real cause of the Emperor imposing on him so heavy a fine as 900,000 ducats, &c.
The Bishop further says that he hears from Carmona (Cremona) that another cause for the Duke's discontent is. that having applied for permission to send a messenger to France it was denied him. Wishing to investigate this affair more closely, he (Niño) ascertained that according to a report of the French ambassador, the Duke had sent for a Milanese gentleman, of the name of captain Maravella, then residing here at Venice, and had told him that in his journey to the court of France he was to pass through Milan, as he had a letter and message for the king of that country. Has thanked the Bishop very warmly for his information, and intends making further use of him, as, notwithstanding his hatred of the Duke, which sometimes blinds him beyond measure, he is still in a situation to unravel the intrigue, if there be any. He is to write to Cremona, and ascertain what were the contents of the letter which captain Maravella was to take to the king of France.
The bishop of Lodi is a man of diabolical genius, which he intends to use against the Duke. As from what he (Niño) sees there is some truth in his statements, it would be advisable for the Emperor to write him a letter of acknowledgment in general terms, thanking him for his valuable information, &c.
At the dinner which the French ambassador gave us on the 11th inst., the English (Casale) and he (Niño) had a conversation together about the divorce. The bishop of London (Stokesley) he said, had been informed that he (Niño) had, gone to Padua to get the determination of the 11 friars revoked, on the plea that it was against the Papal authority, and that in order to satisfy the Bishop on this point, he (Casale) had gone to my lodgings to ascertain whether I was at Venice or not. Replied that, considering what sort of persons they were, I should on no account go to Padua, nor take any trouble in the matter. There was not, I assured him, a groom in my stables whom I considered low enough to take charge of such commission. And I further told him that the opinion of such people as the Paduan friars and others, influenced as they were by the promises of the Bishop (Stokesley) and of Ricaldo (Richard Croke), rather lowered the value of those of persons of authority who might have decided in favour of the King. The ambassador further said that the Bishop had been told that I had been, without any express mandate from the Emperor, countermining them (the English), not only with the doctors and friars, but also with the Signory. This I did not deny, because it was substantially true, but told Casale that it was not with Jews and foolish friars (inocentes) that Your Majesty could treat of this matter, but that if they would negociate in a manner worthy of their King, and befitting such a Christian prince as he was, (fn. n12) Your Majesty would doubtless command your ambassadors to treat in your name. I assured him, moreover that I was really ashamed (corrido) at what I had been obliged to do on my own account. The Englishman then said: "You do not know how much this Bishop [of London] and Ricaldo (Richard Croke) have prejudiced the King's mind against my brother and myself on account of our having disapproved of the order they brought [from England]. As to myself I cannot do otherwise than conform with their orders. I know besides that he (the Bishop) has written to the King complaining of your conduct in this case." Replied that God could not have done me greater favour (fn. n13) than to place me in a position in which I could do service to a daughter of queen Isabella; for I believed not only the men but the stones of all Castille would rise to resent the injury intended against their most Christian Queen (Katharine), and that I trusted the King himself would punish them (the ambassadors) for the unworthy service they had done him, in seeking the opinion of foolish friars, who could not read, and not forwarding those of the many learned men who had decided for the contrary. He said I was right, (fn. n14) but begged me for the love of God to keep the matter secret, for, if it were divulged, the King would most certainly put him and his brother to death both for this and for what passed between us on Ascension Day. He also told me they had word from Rome that certain acts had been done at the Rota in favour of the Queen, and that the Bishop [of London] suspected I had also powers from the Queen to do others with this Signory. I told him in reply that I knew nothing about the acts at Rome, but that there was none to be done here in behalf of the Queen, as it did not appertain to the Signory to give judgment in this cause, which belonged solely and exclusively to the Pope.
From this we passed to the argument on which the said friars had founded their opinion, viz.: that the Pope had no power to dispense if the former marriage of the Queen with the prince Arthur had been consummated; but since (I said) the Queen declared to cardinal Campeggio, under the sacrament of confession, that the prince of Wales had never consummated marriage, which the King knows better than anybody, what else do they want? The English ambassador assented, but said the King intended to prove that it must have been otherwise, because they had several times been in the same bed. (fn. n15)
To some of my arguments the Englishman made no reply. I told him that the manner in which he and his colleagues were conducting this business was highly reprehensible, and injurious to the King, their master. Had their object been merely to search for truth, and had the Roman court been consulted in the proper form, and a decision obtained accordingly, I had not the least doubt that the Queen, who is so good a Christian (christianissima) would of herself have applied for a divorce out of her own love to the King and for the salvation of her soul I ended by telling him that I would willingly give a good portion of my own private fortune to be acquainted with a language in which I could converse with the Bishop and tell him the very same things I had told him and many more, thus teaching him that affairs of this sort concerning the daughter of the Catholic king and queen Isabella ought to be treated differently. Many other remarks did I make to the English ambassador which I omit for brevity's sake, and because I shall have further occasion to return to the affair before closing this despatch.
Informed the Signory of Your Majesty's arrival at Innsbruck, and gave them the letter that has come for them; they were highly pleased.
The abbot of Farfa came here three days ago, because, as he says, he does not consider himself secure from the Pope in Romagna or in the kingdom of Naples. He called upon me and protested of his attachment to Your Majesty, adding that he has never deserved the treatment he has experienced of late. I purposely asked him how it was that cardinal Santa Croce was actually at Bracciano. He took the hint, related the old story, and said that since that affair he had not been guilty of any misdemeanour against the Pope. He asked me to write to Your Majesty in his favour. I refused, giving reasons with which he seemed satisfied. He then told me that he was expecting an answer from the Imperial court, and that on its receipt he would go and throw himself at Your Majesty's feet.
(Cipher:) This Signory have had letters from Constantinople of the 16th June, received on the 20th inst., to the effect that Luigi Griti was coming to Hungary by the command of Solyman, but only with an escort of seven horsemen, and that his object was to ascertain what the king of Hungary (Ferdinand) intended doing this year, and report to Constantinople. Should the King have a powerful armament, such as the Vayvode could not withstand, in that case Solyman would send Ibrahim Bashá with the greatest force he can collect; otherwise he (the Turk) will be glad to be left in peace for this year.
Such were the news communicated to me at the College-hall under great secrecy, but I have since heard from one of the councillors of "Pregadi" that the information received is that Luigi Gritti has been sent to Hungary and the neighbouring provinces with orders that in case of the Vayvod (Zapolsky) being attacked, the Turks who are there should assist him with all their might, and that Ibrahim Bashá is to go immediately thither with an army, if Gritti should say that it is required.
Generally speaking, there are very few people in this city who hate the Turk as he ought to be hated. They generally exaggerate his forces, and if he has 1,000 horse, give him 100,000. No great credit, therefore, ought to be given to the report that he is preparing great armaments by land and sea for next year. I have, however, considered it my duty to give Your Majesty the news such as I have heard it, and have also written to king Ferdinand, enclosing the advices received from Ragusa.
On the 18th the bishop of London (Stokesley), the English ambassador here resident (Casale), and El Ricaldo (Richard Croke), who is the English solicitor for this cause, went to the College-hall. On their arrival there I happened to be with the Signory, giving them an account beforehand of my conversation with the English ambassador, as above. They waited some time for my departure, and when I was gone all three entered, and presented their letters of credence from the king of England. The Bishop then made a great oration, declaring how his master had been married to queen Katherine, who had been previously the wife of his own brother, and therefore he begged his esteemed friends and confederates the Venetians to allow him to solicit the opinion of the university of Padua on the subject. The Signory replied that the same request had been made to them at different times by the English resident ambassador (Casale), and that they had answered that this was a matter with which they did not wish to meddle, as it touched upon the authority of the Church, and concerned persons so closely related to the Emperor as the most Christian queen Katherine, and the sons of the Infante Dom Manuel of Portugal, (fn. n16) who obtained a dispensation in the very same degree of consanguinity. Nevertheless, if their doctors wished to study the question, they would not be hindered from giving in their opinion at the request of the ambassadors, but not by the command of the Signory, as that was a thing to which they would never consent. The Bishop retorted that he and his colleagues had already applied to the doctors, but concluded from their language and excuses that they had been forbidden by the Signory from complying with the king of England's wish. The Signory denied having given such restriction; upon which the Bishop declared that he could mention the names of doctors who had alleged the prohibition as an excuse for not giving their opinion. He was told that whoever said so lied; but, however, that the Signory would never allow this matter to be discussed under its authority. This naturally led to a dispute, in which the Bishop used rather intemperate language, and said: "It is very hard, indeed, that the Imperial ambassadors should be allowed 'motu proprio,' and without mandate, to do that which it is forbidden to us English to do, though fully authorised to apply for it, and that, when we ask doctors for an opinion, the Signory, at the request of those very ambassadors, should forbid them from delivering it." The Bishop, moreover, in the course of his speech, uttered some such threats as these: "The Signory ought to bear in mind the rich trade which this city is carrying on with England, and that there is in London much rich merchandize belonging to people of this Republic, &c." But however strong his arguments, they had no effect upon the senators, for they again told him that no such order had been given, that the matter should be put under deliberation, and an answer returned to their application.
I myself went next to the College-hall, where, after transacting some other business, all those who did not form part of the Council of the Ten were ordered out of the room, and the missing members sent for, when one of them related to me the conversation that had passed between one of the senators and the Bishop. I thanked them in Your Majesty's name for their firmness in refusing to command their doctors to give an opinion in the case. Told them, I believed the king of England wished to ascertain the truth, as nothing else could be supposed of such a prince, but that the unwarrantable method adopted by his agents led exactly to the contrary result; because if they wished to know the truth, and nothing but the truth, why not believe as well in the doctors who said that the Pope could dispense as in those who maintained that he could not; if their object was truth, they ought to be as satisfied with the one answer as with the other. Added many other arguments, and in order to confirm them more in their purpose of not allowing the English to tamper with the Paduan doctors, I said I would point out to them two cases of marriages here at Venice, one resembling exactly that of the king of England, the other that of the king of Portugal. I told them the names of the parties, and they said I was right. The man who married two sisters is still alive, and has sons by both wives, and the man who married his brother's widow died at the siege of Naples by Lautrec, he being a Venetian proveditor. There was here, in Venice, a Spaniard, who had also married his brother's widow, though both man and wife had left in debt. In Castille and in France, I daresay, the cases occur by hundreds, so that were it only matter of custom and use the Pope could dispense.
The general of the Augustinians is incessantly importuned by the English to adopt their wicked opinion; but notwithstanding their solicitations he still maintains the contrary view. So does the prior of Santisban here, belonging to the same order not only does he not share the English opinion, but is actually writing against it. Your Majesty might write letters of encouragement to them, for certainly both the one and the other do this more out of love of justice and attachment to Your Majesty than because it touches the Church and the Pope.—Venice, 26th July 1530.
Signed: "Rodrigo Niño."
Addressed: "A la S. C. C. M.".
Spanish. Original partly in cipher. Contemporary deciphering on the same sheet, pp. 20.


  • n1. Thus in the Original. but Pontremoli is no doubt meant.
  • n2. Lescuyer François, elsewhere called count Pontremoli.
  • n3. "Mayormente que aqui tenemos aviso que aunque lo quisiesse hacer el dicho Señor rey no seria parte de miedo del escandalo que moveria aquel pueblo, y esto nos ha confesado al Papa, y despues a mi el mismo embaxador Gregorio Casal.".
  • n4. See above, pp. 619 and 630.
  • n5. Fr. Garcia de Loaysa, bishop of Osma, at this time Mai's colleague in the embassy.
  • n6. This count of Luna (Don Bernardino Fernandez de Quiñones) was the brother of the Cardinal (Fr. Francisco). One of his sons is said to have married a niece of pope Leo.
  • n7. "Y para este effecto trahe de aca sus instrucciones, que son todas persuasivas á esto, y sino podrá ser que á lo menos venga á la causa aqui en Roma de su grado, y desengañarle que sino lo hiziese no podrá el Papa dexar de hazer justicia."
  • n8. "Entre las otras cosas que alla lleva he procurado que lleve la dispensation que el Señor Key de Anglia ganó para poder casar con esta Reina, no embargante el impedimento que tieue o podiese tener del otro hermano, que es lo que ellos contradizen en lo de la Reyna."
  • n9. "Y el Papa tiene por buena via sabido de este mismo obispo eu Venecia, que su Rey bien quisiera desviar este juyzio si pudiesse, pero que quando no pueda, no dexará de comparecer y tornar á la causa, por que es cierto que en contraditta no podra sino perder la sentencia."
  • n10. "Porque á mas mal andar el derecho canonico tollerá estos casamientos por el escandalo, y esto no lo da el divino."
  • n11. "Massime procurandosi l'amicitia sua come e detto, potissime per l'interesse del Re d'Inghilterra col quale costoro conoscono avere tanta obligazione quanta sia possibile. De manera ch'io tengo cbe questa sia la causa della sua repente variazione, auendo, come credo, credutosi el Papa a mal termino, si recuperati figliuoli, data nuova speranza di questo maledetto divorcio, &c."
  • n12. "Como yo creia que el Rey de Inglaterra lo mandara siendo tal Principe y tan Christianissimo como era."
  • n13. "El se me desculpó mucho diziendo quan mal en graciadel Rey de Inglaterra le tenian á él y á su hermano este obispo y Ricaldo, por decir quan mal les parecia la orden que llevavan en ello; y que ya él no podia hacer sino conformarse con ellos, y que me hacia saber que el obispo havia escrito al Rey la contradizion que les hacia. Yo le dixe que en cosa no me podia Dios, &c."
  • n14. "Dixome que tenia razon pero que me rogava por amor de Dios que lo tuviesse secreto que les iva la vida á él y á su hermano."
  • n15. Here follows a paragraph which I have thought fit to suppress. It stands thus in the original Spanish: "Dixome que assi era que la reyna lo dejava en el juramento del Rey, pero que el Rey decia que era tan mochacho que no sabia determinarse en la verdad; pero que queria probar que havian estado muchas veces en una cama juntos. Yo le pregunté que si le avia acaecido á él mismo estar en una cama con una muger algunas vezes y no haver acceso á ella. Dixome que si. Respondile, pues assi pudo acaecer al principe de Gales, y dixeles de otros á quien [a] acaecido, y con esto no me pudo dar respuesta."
  • n16. Dom Manuel of Portugal was married first to Doña Isabel de Castilla (daughter of the Catholic Sovereigns), then a widow of his first cousin, Don Alfonso. After her death in 1498, the King married her sister Doña Maria, who died in 1517. Dom Manuel and Doña Maria were the parents of Isabella, the wife of Charles V.