Rome: May 1573

Pages 108-116

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Vatican Archives, Volume 2, 1572-1578. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.

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May 1573

p. 209.
191. The Same to the Same.
“By way of sequel to what I wrote you on the 27th the quondam English ambassador presented himself at Fontainebleau before his Majesty on the 28th. He was not received with the wonted cordiality; but was kept waiting in the ante-chamber for about an hour before he was admitted to the King's presence, and then he was allowed still to remain bareheaded and not bidden cover himself, as is usual, after the first reverence. The King complained that Montgomery had been allowed to equip his fleet in England, though it was meant to take the offensive against him. The ambassador sought to exonerate his Queen, and did his best to persuade his Majesty that she was excellently well disposed towards his States. In this conversation the new ambassador took no part; rather they ignored him, and when at last they summoned him, they told him nothing. They were dismissed by the King without having had speech or sight of the Queen Mother, and departed for Melun, where the quondam ambassador took the road for England, while the new one returned to Moret, where the rest are.”
1 May, 1573. Moreto [Moret sur Loing]. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 219.
192. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul], Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “The accord as to the traffic of merchants between England and Flanders, which was to have been published on the 20th of last month, is understood to have been postponed until the 8th inst.; whereat the ministers of Spain are vexed, doubting whether that Queen may not withdraw from the said proposal, as they say she has done on other occasions of the like sort. In which opinion they are the more fortified by the reported utterances of the new ambassador of England as to the good understanding which his Queen is minded to have with this Crown, in whose exoneration he alleges that the English in Montgomery's fleet are there for zeal of Huguenotry and against her will. He says likewise that his predecessor has returned to England charged with business of the utmost importance. As to which we are in daily expectation of light, and that very soon.
“When the said late ambassador had taken leave of the King he was presented with a chain worth 1,500 crowns and some jewels for his lady, and accommodated with a coach as far as the sea. God grant that all turn out well.”
4 May, 1573. Moreto [Moret sur Loing]. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vii. p. 236.
193. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain, to the Same.
… “From the advices last to hand here, to wit, by letters of the 15th of last month, it appears that the course of affairs in Flanders affords better hope of that about which we have been talking and busying ourselves of late. It is also said that a definite arrangement as to commerce between the English and the Flemings and other subjects of this King is in negotiation between the Duke of Alva and the pretended [Queen] of England. I will try to acquaint myself thoroughly with this negotiation, in order to do such offices as may be necessary and proper in regard thereto with his Majesty, on whose part there is never reason to apprehend aught being done to the prejudice of religion and the public weal or the Queen of Scotland.
“I have heard that this Archbishop of Cashel, who solicits the aid for the Catholics of Ireland, is a person that has no sort of fitness for the purpose; and his Majesty drew from me a word to that effect. From persons that know him, and are well worthy of credit, I have received a disadvantageous report of his character; nor would I leave you without this by way of advice.”
7 May, 1573. Madrid. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vii. p. 246.
194. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“It is true that an arrangement is made between the Duke of Alva and the Queen of England, and by what I gather it is evident that it is being carried out, the English merchants beginning already to take houses in those countries for their trade and affairs. As yet I have not been able to learn the terms, but every one tells me they do the Duke of Alva none too much honour, and that among other matters they were within an ace of sending back to England the English Catholics, who now despair of being able, either by means of this King or of the Most Christian King, to aid the Queen of Scotland and restore the true Catholic religion in that realm, a result deplorable indeed. I have a mind to tell his Majesty what God shall inspire me withal as to this matter; and one is driven to the conclusion that all princes are intent upon the interests of their States, especially when they feel the pinch of need. Not that one should pass definitive judgment in an adverse sense until one is well acquainted with the true state of this business, which will be manifest by what we shall soon see come to pass, and from the capitulations, if one can get sight or knowledge of them, albeit the matter in itself wears none too good an aspect.”
8 May, 1573. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
p. 250.
195. The Same to the Same.
… “I am by way of discovering from the Englishmen here that have advices from Flanders, that the arrangement between the Duke of Alva and the Queen of England is a truce for two years, and that commerce is restored.”
9 May, 1573. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi.
pp. 228–33.
196. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop of S. Papoul, Nuncio in France to the Same.
“The ambassador Malras, (fn. 1) who writes to the King that he would do well to have what I write supervised, because it is certified from a good source that I send the Pope intelligence that is of infinite service to the Spaniards in regard to military matters, thereby gives me occasion in this instance to make more use of cipher than I should in ordinary circumstances do. God forgive the doer of this evil turn and bring him to acknowledge his error.
“The King and the Queen Regent are very sure that the ministers of Spain in concert with the Emperor are negotiating an accord with the Prince of Orange and the Queen of England, and for the deliverance of Flanders from such great troubles and dangers, a thing above measure distasteful to the French, who had rather not see Flanders quiet and the King of Spain unembarrassed, which they think would be the result of an accord between Orange and the Spaniards; and, moreover, in such an event they would be afraid that with the support of Germany and the help of the Queen of England Orange would make common cause with the Huguenots of France, and take the offensive against their Majesties in great force. And in regard of the Queen of England's ambition to have a foot in France these confusions would be much to her advantage if thereby she succeeded in making herself mistress of one of the fortified towns on the seacoast. In such an event without openly declaring herself, it is nevertheless not to be doubted that by her wonted arts she might lend no little aid to Orange and such Huguenots as might take the field against the King.
“That Orange is making an accord with the Spaniards, and that the Queen of England is consentient thereto, they hold for certain here, seeing that Orange is for many reasons her dependant, and without her aid could not in time past have maintained his footing at all in Flanders, nor could now so well compass his designs; moreover, the understanding that Orange has with the princes of Germany and in particular with the Palatine is very well known to the King and the Queen Regent by the reports of those whom they have sent to the one and the other, and the negotiations that are pending with them. The King and the Queen Regent, who desire peace in the realm, and discern there a factious spirit, and that it is rather a man competent to assume the leadership in sedition than the will to be turbulent and rebellious that is lacking, make it the scope of all their policy to do away with whatever might foster thoughts of turbulence in their people or incite them to rebellion; to which end they deem that a good understanding with the Germans, the English and Orange may be very serviceable. And with this view they long since opened negotiations to establish such an understanding with them that they may not have occasion to be apprehensive of their lending aid to the Huguenots of France, the result whereof they have seen in the Palatine doing nothing without the concurrence of Orange and Orange nothing without the Palatine. Of late they have begun to pay attention to Montgomery as you will have already learned from my letters. All these negotiations are quickened at present by their suspicion that the Spaniards may make their accord first, and their dread of the factious spirit that is daily more apparent in this realm. To this end Fregoso (fn. 2) has returned to Germany. Thus at one and the same time both these mighty kings are bent on establishing friendship, good understanding and harmony with their own subjects and potentates much their inferiors, because the education alike of the one as of the other has been such as not to permit the birth of true confidence between them. The Spanish ambassador, who has several channels by which he is able to get plenty of information about the French, the Germans, England and Orange, deems it certain that the Most Christian King is coming to a good understanding with Orange, England and Germany, and that he must needs make war in Flanders. For myself, so far as I can fathom these affairs, I would not make bold to say as much; nay, were there no other reason to the contrary, methinks that while the government of France remains as at present in the hands of the Queen Regent, we shall hardly see open war either with Spain or with any other Power, unless needs and interests shall be more than urgent. The jealous precautions which she takes to fortify herself in this policy are exorbitant: few there are to whom she allows a share in business, and she is as chary as possible of distributing commissions that carry with them authority, as one must do on entering upon a war. I should rather say that in such a case they would secretly foment Orange, and profit at their ease by all the troubles of Flanders and of its master, the Catholic King. Which of the two Kings is likely to be the first to achieve his purpose, I, who am here and know not what is going on elsewhere, cannot say. I think, indeed, that the business may be protracted for some time, and that the event may be of great consequence to us; that is to say, that if the affairs of Orange and his adherents prosper better in Flanders than those of the Huguenots, England and the Germans will unite with Orange in consenting to the wishes of the French, Montgomery will reconcile himself with the King of France, and in Flanders there will be tribulation; if, on the contrary, the Huguenots of France make progress more satisfactory to the Germans and English than that made by Orange in Flanders, the result will be the accord with Orange, and the tide will turn here, where there is a nobility that with one consent desires that either within or without the realm the King should be embroiled, that they may plunder, make gain, glut their ambition and better their estate in the degree in which that of the subject of whom his lord has need is greater and better than that of him who is left to his own devices and lives at ease.
“The French think to make the accord of the Venetians with the Turk serve their turn at the election to the Empire, to which they now more than ever aspire, being apprised that the Emperor is now in the sorriest state of health, while the affairs of Spain they deem all the worse for the dissolution of the League; and, as the Catholic King must for the sake alike of his reputation and of his existence contend unaided against the Turk, his ancient enemy, and one so potent as to be able at one and the same time to give him trouble and harass Hungary, which is on the confines of Germany, they hope that the Germans, taking this into consideration, may think of electing an Emperor who is not of the House—detested by the Turk—of Austria, nor, by the possession of many States open to his attack, is, as the Catholic King is— to say nothing of the odium of the House—apt to be at variance with him in numberless ways likely, as they also suppose, to involve all that may be in any sort his dependants; and so they imagine that the Germans might be minded to elect the Most Christian King their Emperor, cherishing the hope that the Turk, being in league with him, would on that account, when he was Emperor, refrain from invading Hungary, and making certain that in default the forces of the Empire joined with his would in any event suffice to safeguard Hungary against any attack, that State alone among those of the Empire and France being open to attack by the Turk.”
9 May, 1573. Moretto [Moret sur Loing]. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 258.
197. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop of S. Papoul, Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“I wrote you of late that the Venetian Signory, alarmed at the displeasure with which the Pope received the tidings of the peace which, without his knowledge, they have made with the Turk, had for their defence besought the intervention of the Most Christian King to appease his Holiness, and accordingly the King had resolved to write to his ambassador at Rome, bidding him do every opportune office in favour of the said Venetian Signory, and no less, I am persuaded, would then be done.
“Since then the Venetian Signory, before they had been informed of the King's resolution, and before his Majesty had learned what his ambassador has effected with his Holiness, have renewed their request more earnestly than before, evincing mistrust of the Pope's disposition. The King, accordingly, has resolved to repeat his instructions to his ambassador to speak and use his influence with the Pope on their behalf; nor has he, as yet, gone further in regard to this matter. M. d'Anjou and M. the Duke [of Alençon] at La Rochelle had some days since a great quarrel, and no wonder, as every one that has a little penetration is aware of the rivalry that is between them, a rivalry fomented in great measure by the great people at Court who would fain have divisions in the realm, and thereby promote their particular interests. Apprised thereof, the King and the Queen Mother, to prevent further discord, were minded to recall M. the Duke to Court upon some pretext so plausible that the true cause might not appear. The English ambassador, at the instance of the Huguenots of the kingdom, who show him much more deference than do the Catholics to the ministers of the Pope, and repose more confidence in him, has caused their Majesties to change their mind. He gave them to understand that he knew that they purposed to recall M. the Duke from La Rochelle by reason of his quarrel with his brother, M. d'Anjou, but that they should take care to do nothing in any way to diminish the lustre of M. the Duke's fame and reputation, as he deemed would be the result if his Highness were recalled from the enterprise of La Rochelle, whither by their Majesties he was sent, especially as, should they do so, the reason of the recall would be known at any rate to him [the ambassador] and by him reported to England, in order that, such being the case, the Queen, his mistress, might recede from her good intention of taking M. the Duke for her husband, and according the suit so earnestly pressed by their Majesties. He added that he knows that the Queen is very ambitious and fastidious and in all that is intended for her service ever demands excellence, so that if an affront should be put upon M. the Duke, as it would indubitably be if he were recalled from La Rochelle, it would be impossible for her ever again to attend to the business of the match.
“This discourse the Queen heard with much displeasure, deeming that the Englishman's design was to constrain her to leave M. the Duke at La Rochelle, in the hope that his differences with M. d'Anjou might render any satisfactory progress by the army impossible, and perhaps bring it to such a plight that, the men falling upon one another, it would be cut to pieces, and that his words belied his meaning; but, nevertheless, being in no wise disposed to forfeit the hope of the match so passionately desired by her for her own and her son's aggrandisement, to which as her main object she subordinates all else, she resolved to leave M. the Duke at the camp. Since then, to obviate the dissensions that might arise from the rivalry of the two brothers, she has inclined to expedite the composition with the people of La Rochelle, because, were that affair arranged, both brothers might return to Court, where the occasions of discord would not be the same; and also her Majesty by her presence and authority might afford much help. Which condescension on her Majesty's part has been facilitated by her nascent apprehension of fresh garboils in the realm by reason of the recent risings in Béarn, besides which it seems that the heat of the season is everywhere setting the souls of the Huguenots afire for rebellion and revolution, for which, it is believed, it would prove a great remedy.”
20 May, 1573. Moreto [Moret sur Loing]. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vii.
pp. 262, 264.
198. [Nicholas Ormanetto,] Bishop of Padua, Nuncio in Spain to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
“I did my office again with his Majesty touching the establishment of the new league. … and took occasion to advert to the tidings of the seizure of the island of Lisle [Belle Ile] (fn. 3) by the Count of Montgomery with the help of English ships and men, and of the great stubbornness with which the heretics defend in France La Rochelle and in Ireland [sic Holland] Harlem….
“I also spoke of the truce with England, adducing many reasons for allowing it to remain unmade; and his Majesty told me that there was neither peace nor truce but only an accord made between the Duke of Alva and the English for mutual commerce as of old; and that for his part he would have been better pleased if it had not been made, knowing very well the resources of that lady, and that the commerce might be much more profitable to the English than to his States; adding that he did not yet know whether the accord had been published, and that the Duke of Alva's motive in making it was but that he saw clearly that it would be very conducive to a satisfactory termination of the war, which, it was hoped, would come to pass any rate this summer; and ‘let us end the war,’ said he.”
26 May, 1573. Madrid. Decipher. Italian.
Vat. Arch.
Nunt. di
vol. vi. p. 304.
199. [Antonio Maria] Salviati, [late] Bishop [of S. Papoul,] Nuncio in France to [Ptolemy Galli,] Cardinal of Como.
… “Letters are to hand from England in reply to the remonstrance made on the subject of the fleet that was got together by Montgomery in that realm and went to the succour of La Rochelle. They are all replete with cordiality, representing that the Queen is displeased that the Englishmen should have followed Montgomery; that her mind is quite made up to abide in good friendship and league with the Crown of France; and that she has all but decided to marry the Duke of Alençon. Since the receipt of these letters the English ambassador has been much at Court, and received with extraordinary manifestations of favour.
“Moreover, we understand from a very good source that it is on the tapis that M. the Duke [of Alençon] go to England to visit the Queen, and that a great English personage be sent hither to remain as hostage as long as M. the Duke is there. Were the Duke but a little older and not so much disfigured in the face by the small-pox, his appearance in England would certainly be more apt to prepossess that nation in his favour.
“It is also understood that the Queen is again arming many vessels; and one knows not where they can be intended to be employed except against Scotland.”
31 May, 1573. Moreto [Moret sur Loing]. Italian.


  • 1. François Rougier, Seigneur de Malras, Baron de Férals, Ambassador of France at Rome. See Lettres de Catherine de Médicis (Docc. Inédd. sur l'Hist. de France), vol. x. pp. 557–8.
  • 2. As to Galeazzo Fregoso see Corresp. du Card. de Granvelle (Acad. Roy. de Belgique), vol. iv. p. 558.
  • 3. Cf. Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1572–4, p. 360.