Venice: March 1516

Pages 285-292

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 2, 1509-1519. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1867.

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March 1516

March 5. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 9. 692. Remittances made by Henry VIII.
The King of England was the person who paid the Imperial troops, for which purpose he had remitted 120,000 ducats to Augsburg; and there was also a Papal ambassador with the Emperor: so that affairs were in great confusion.
[Extract, Italian.]
March 7. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 13. 693. Marino Giorgio, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Signory.
Dated 28th February and 1st and 3rd March.
The entry of the Pope into Rome on the 28th. Conversed with him about the present stir made by the Emperor, who was certainly coming into Italy with 22,000 men, paid by the King of England, and meant to attack France and the Signory, and to expel the King of France from Italy.
[Extract, Italian.]
March 7. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 45. 694. Marino Giorgio, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Council of Ten.
Had been told by the Pope that he expected the French and Venetians to be worsted, and that be would have to fight single-handed, because the King of England aided the Emperor with money, &c.
March 8. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 60. 695. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
Arrangement made by Cardinal Wolsey for the discussion in Council of the Candian business a fortnight thence. Conversation with the Cardinal, who openly denied, by the honour of the cardinalate, that money had been sent either to the Emperor or to the Switzers. The State would comprehend the truth of that assertion by the result. Had understood the contrary daily, and fain would that the Cardinal spoke the truth. The Cardinal remarked that there would be yet time to adjust the disputes about Scotland, if King Francis recalled the Duke of Albany. Replied that he considered them already arranged by the appointment of commissioners.
Subsequently announced to the Cardinal news received in the Signory's letters dated 2nd February, in two letters from the most noble Griti, and in one from the secretary Rosso at Milan, concerning Brescia and the agreement between the ten Swiss cantons and the King of France. The Cardinal did not receive the intelligence in the manner of those who are made acquainted with the successes of their friends. Said, in reply to the Cardinal's inquiries about the Emperor, the King of France, and the Switzers, that through the French ambassador he had merely understood that King Francis was in Provence, and expected at Lyons. The Cardinal mentioned a report of the death of King Francis, but did not believe it, though possibly he might be unwell. Threw discredit on both assertions. The Cardinal made the usual complaints against France, and said that the recall of the Duke of Albany would allay all the disturbance. Having been informed by the French ambassador that 50 or 60 ships had been armed by King Henry, (though there was not the slightest rumour of it in the town,) told the Cardinal reports were circulating that the remittances had really reached Inspruck, and that a great armada was being fitted out in England, evidently for no trifling purpose. The Cardinal solemnly denied both reports; only 10 or 12 of the King's ships in the Thames had undergone repairs. Exhorted him to effect peace between the two Kings; whereupon he made a long speech, saying that he was the author of the peace between King Henry and King Lewis, and of the marriage of the Lady Mary Tudor “to that infirm and decrepid monarch,” slighting the alliance with the Archduke; and that reproaches had been cast on him for having shown himself more anxious for peace with France, than for the honour of his King; notwithstanding which he would exert himself for the maintenance of a good understanding between the two crowns, provided the King of France would conform to reason and recall the Duke of Albany. In reply, said he hoped the Cardinal and the ambassadors expected both from France and Scotland would arrange everything; and that if a decision favourable to this kingdom were arrived at through hostilities, his Lordship could not be greater than he was; but, if the result were disastrous, he, being at the helm, would be held responsible for every reverse, and for the taxes and burdens imposed upon the people. The Cardinal thanked him for his advice.
Proceeded from the Cardinal immediately to the Bishop of Durham, to whom he also communicated the summaries. The Bishop then inquired, “Where are the Swiss and the Emperor?” Said he imagined they were at home. He answered, “Rely upon it they are in Italy, 36,000 strong.” Regrets expressed by him for the perilous position of the Signory. Everything was done to detach Venice from the French alliance. The Bishop vowed that if any money had been received by the Emperor from England, he was willing to be called a traitor; and when he (Giustinian) expressed surprise that the Emperor, not being worth a ducat, should have invaded Italy with 36,000 men, the Bishop repeated that the King had not given money to the detriment of Venice, but to the Switzers against the King of France. Replied that, as the Signory and France were united, it was impossible to aid the Switzers against France without injuring Venice. The Bishop rejoined that the Switzers were not the enemies of the State, but of the King of France, whom they did not choose to retain the territory held by him in Italy.
London, 8th March 1516.
[Italian, 4¾ pages, or 102 lines.]
March 8. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlvii p. 2, tergo. 696. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Ambassador in France.
The Pope gives them good words, but he should be treated with reserve, as the Emperor would not have commenced without an understanding with his Holiness. The Switzers and Grisons had been instigated by the Pope, and he had persuaded the King of England to disburse the money; but notwithstanding this, it would be desirable to speak the Pope fair, and not fail to prosecute the Italian war, which accomplished, all the rest would follow.
[Latin, 28 lines.]
March 8. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlvii. p. 3. 697. The Same to the Venetian Ambassador at the Papal Court.
The Pope and all Italy have doubtless cause to dread the coming into Italy of the German troops, with the Emperor in person. The resolve of the Pope to prevent them is not only laudable but necessary; he is well aware of the Emperor's longing and designs, and of his constant and peculiar saying that the temporal power of the Church is his, and that he is destined to recover it. To tell the Pope in the Signory's name that, by good understanding and union with the most Christian King and with the State, he will not only make the enemy hesitate, hut lose all their daring, as they now boast that his Holiness is with them. Commend the Pope extremely both for writing briefs to the King of England, and for endeavouring to maintain harmony between France and England.
To do his utmost to learn the Pope's mind, there being great cause to suspect that the Emperor would not have stirred without an understanding with him, and that he instigated the Switzers and the Grisons; whilst the King of England, being jealous of the greatness of the most Christian King, and of the Duke of Albany's regency of Scotland, consented more easily to disburse the money to the Emperor, possibly at the request of the Pope, made through the new Rt. Rev. Cardinal of York.
Ayes, 159. Noes, 2. Neutrals, 2.
[Italian, 56 lines.]
March 10. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 61. 698. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
Arrival in London of two ambassadors from the Prince of Castile, the one Mons. de Roeux, formerly prisoner of war in Venice, and the other a prelate, a person of account, and very learned. On Sunday the 9th of March they had a public audience, the King and Court being in very sumptuous array. After the prelate had delivered a Latin oration, they went to church, and swore to the peace between King Henry and the Prince of Castile, to last for ever. Neither he (Giustinian) nor the French ambassador was present, as they had not been invited.
Next day went with the French ambassador to visit the two envoys. Complaints made by Mons. de Roeux of ill treatment received by him at Venice. He said his Prince intended to go to Castile, where he anticipated no opposition, obedience having been tendered to him by his brother the Archduke Ferdinand and the Castilian nobles. Clauses in the will of King Ferdinand the Catholic, bequeathing the kingdom of Naples to the Prince of Castile, and recommending to him the Queen widow. Displeasure of the French ambassador, who maintained that Naples ought to revert to France, as it was the dowry of the Queen, and she was childless. High estimation in which the King of England was held by the ambassadors of the Prince of Castile. They said they were to depart in two or three days.
London, 10th March 1516.
[Italian, 3 pages, or 65 lines.]
March 11. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 62. 699. The Same to the Same.
Communicated the Signory's despatches and newsletters to the King, who, having been indisposed during the last three days, received him alone, in his private chamber. Made a brief summary of them in Latin, which the King read. He said the agreement between the Switzers and the King of France would not take effect, for they had all agreed with the Emperor, and taken the French King's money in part payment of their claims upon him; that the Emperor and the Switzers were in Italy, between Verona and Milan, so that the Venetian army in the territory of Brescia could not succour the army of the French King; and that the, French who were with the Duke of Bourbon had fled, the Duke and other great personages having withdrawn into the castle of Milan. The King exulted at the anticipated reverses of Venice. Defended her policy. Indignation of the King, who grew rather pale, becoming more angry than could have been credited, and displaying himself more openly the enemy of France. Attempted to appease the King by saying that, when all the princes of Christendom conspired against Venice, his Majesty was the sole beacon which remained to the Signory in such great darkness,—that all Christian sovereigns had bowed before him, tanquam ad justissimum refugium, but that even greater than his power or wealth were his justice, graciousness, and clemency. These and other compliments were induced by the King's having also said that he had done more for Venice than was ever done by his father or by any other prince who had been her friend; adding in an angry tone, that he then possessed more money and greater power and authority than had ever fallen to his own lot, or to that of his ancestors, so that he could obtain what he pleased from his fellow sovereigns. Panegyric passed on the Cardinal of Sion by the King. He expressed resentment because Venice did not accept his mediation for an adjustment between the Signory and the Emperor and the late King of Spain, Apologized to the effect that the Pope had previously undertaken to mediate between them, and would have taken offence, if he had been set aside for England, whose interposition, however, would have been much preferred by the whole Senate. The King assured him (Giustinian) that he would never injure Venice by means of his forces or money, and expressed surprise that he received only stale news thence. Requests the State to send advices. The King's authority with the Emperor, and with the Archduke likewise, was much greater than the King himself represented,
London, 11th March 1516.
[Italian, 5½ pages, or 116 lines.]
March 12. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 63. 700. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
Had acquainted the French ambassador with all that had passed between himself and King Henry, except the statement made by the King concerning negotiations between the Emperor and France, to the detriment of Venice, which the King had bound him to keep secret. Assigns reasons for not evincing distrust of the French ambassador, who informed him that he had received letters from a trustworthy person in Flanders, stating that 15,000 nobles, equivalent to 70,000 ducats, had been despatched thence to the Emperor, for the support of his army; that his Majesty was levying 10,000 men in Germany, whom he had ordered to come to Calais; and that there had been great disturbances in the kingdom of Naples between the French and Spanish partizans. Supposed these 10,000 men to be destined against Scotland, as they were to cross the Border in the spring,—not against France, as in that case King Henry would prefer employing Englishmen, by reason of the natural enmity between the two nations.
London, 12th March 1516.
[Italian, 2¼ pages, or 48 lines.]
March 13. Misti Consiglio X. v. xxxix. p. 86, tergo. 701. The Council of Ten and Junta to the Ambassador at the [Papal] Court.
Arrival of the Emperor at Trent. March of his army out of Verona and across the Adige towards Peschiera. The Emperor will be unable to maintain his troops for many days, especially if the Pope would either contrive that the King of England should not continue sending money, or else intercept the supplies.
Ayes, 27. Noes, 1. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 36 lines.]
March 17. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 45. 702. Remittances made by Henry VIII.
Motion made in the Senate by the Sages for a letter to Sebastian Giustinian, ambassador in England, desiring him to exhort the King no longer to send money to the Emperor for hostilities against Venice and Italy.
March 18. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlvii. p. 4, tergo. 703. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Ambassador in England.
The Emperor has come in person, with 15,000 men, including Switzers, Grisons, and Lansquenets, by way of Trent, crossed the Adige towards Bussolengo, and joined the troops from Verona, in number about 5,000. The allies have retreated towards Ponte Vico and the Cremonese, where the Duke of Bourbon arrived on the 13th instant with the rest of the French men-at-arms and a number of infantry, and were expecting to be joined by the recently subsidized Switzers. To acquaint the King with these particulars, as also with the accompanying newsletters from Constantinople; to inform his Majesty of the Emperor's thirst for universal dominion, and his desire to appropriate the temporal power of the Apostolic see, which he says he is destined to recover; (fn. 1) and to show that whichever side prove victorious, peril must result to the Christian religion—Italy being drained of men, strength, and money—Venice, the constant bulwark against Turkish fury, weakened (extenuato), and the neighbouring powers depressed (extenuati). Anticipate nothing but ruin to Italy. Should the Emperor obtain his intent, quod absit! all can foresee the fate of the Papal States, and the revolutions, tumults, and scandalous disturbances which would ensue. Request his Majesty to stay this peril. To tell the King that the matter now under discussion is the destruction of the Venetian republic, at which the Emperor particularly aims. The Emperor boasts, and it is publicly reported in his army, that the troops are paid with the money of the King of England, and that they will also receive further similar payments.
Cannot believe that his Majesty would give money for the purpose of injuring such very old friends and especial confederates as themselves. Trust therefore, when acquainted with the fact, he will not allow a power no less desirous of his prosperity than he is himself, to be overwhelmed by his money and by the Emperor's ill will.
To perform the like office and in much stronger form with Cardinal Wolsey and the Bishop of Durham; to tell them it is notorious that the payment made to the troops aforesaid has been effected with the money of the King of England, which has thus been expended to the Signory's detriment; and to pray the Cardinal, of his great goodness, no longer to permit these remittances, as they will prove the ruin of the State, and likewise of the temporal dominion of the Holy Apostolic See.
Postscript.—Have received his letters of the 6th, 7th, and 8th ultimo. Highly commend his proceedings. Glad to hear that the disputes with Scotland would be amicably arranged, as a perfect understanding between King Henry and King Francis would secure the quiet of all Christendom. To do his utmost to effect this result.
Ayes, 177. Noes 3. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 69 lines.]
March 18. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlvii. p. 6. 704. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Ambassador in France.
Are advised by their ambassador in England, that the disputes with Scotland were on the eve of adjustment, which result will maintain the friendship between France and England.
[Extract, Italian.]
March 29. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 64. 705. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
On the 26th received two letters from the Signory with summaries of Turkish news. Went to court to communicate them. The Cardinal told him he could not have audience of the King, who had therefore commissioned the Cardinal to give audience to him and the French ambassador. The Cardinal said he lamented that Christian blood was on the eve of being shed, through the Signory's thirst for empire; and that they were pursuing their own destruction, for the French King was endeavouring to make peace [with the Emperor]. Attempt of the English government to detach Venice from France by intimidation. Loss of despatches transmitted by him (Giustinian) to the Signory. Consigned his letters to the French ambassador for transmission through France to Italy, it not being so safe to deliver them to the merchants, as the couriers went through Flanders and Germany.
London, 29th March 1516.
[Italian, 3½ pages, or 73 lines.]
March 30. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 65. 706. The Same to the Same.
The King had received letters from King Francis, expressing his wish for the continuation of the peace, and that the disputes with Scotland should be settled by the ambassadors of the parties (communi oratori) who were expected from Scotland; the French ambassador in London and his colleague in Scotland mediating on behalf of the King of France. Cardinal Wolsey had told the French ambassador in London, that he believed King Francis did not wish to adjust matters, but merely to gain time, and further his own interests. An attack on Scotland was expected in the course of the spring, as England could not tolerate the supremacy of the Duke of Albany. Considered the outfit of a few English ships as an incentive to war, rather than a warlike movement. The ill will of the English towards France defied exaggeration; they no longer dissembled their feelings; they favoured the Emperor and disparaged King Francis, circulating a report that the Emperor was under Cremona with 34,000 Switzers and lansquenets, and 5,000 horse. Was viewed unfavourably by reason of the Venetian alliance with France. Concealed his conviction that succour was given both to the Emperor and to the Switzers by King Henry, lest the King should declare the State his enemy. Was therefore compelled, in his conferences with the King and the ministers, to speak as expedient for the Signory's interests.
London, 30th March 1516.
[Italian, 2 pages, or 42 lines.]


  • 1. Sa ben la Beatitudine sua qual sij l'appetito et li dissegni de la Cesarea Maestà, et quello è continuo et peculiar dicto di quella—che'l dominio temporal de la Chiesia è suo, et che l'è factale (i. e. fatale) a lui recuperarlo.”