Venice: May 1516

Pages 299-305

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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May 1516

May 1. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 72. 725. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
Expected arrival of the Queen of Scotland in London on the 3rd. Would go to meet her. Report of her divorce from the Earl [of Angus], and intended marriage with the Emperor Maximilian. Those in authority maintained that, as all Scotland at the time of her marriage was under excommunication for an act perpetrated against a papal bull, the Earl was unable to contract matrimony.
Good understanding between the Emperor, England, and Spain. Ambassador in London from the King of Spain (Bernard de Mesa, Bishop of Elna and Trinopoli), the same who had been formerly accredited to King Henry by the late King Ferdinand. He was very intimate with the Emperor's ambassador (Bartholomew Count Tationo), and had frequent audiences of the Cardinal. Had been informed that the King of Spain was on very friendly terms with the King of England, and averse to France. If it were not so, he would not have allowed the money destined for the Emperor to pass through his territories; and moreover a few clays ago he sent to the Emperor 200,000 crowns, which he had recently received from the kingdom of Naples and from Sicily. His (Giustinian's) informant had been at the courts of Spain and Lady Margaret.
London, 1st May 1516.
[Kalian, 1½ page or 35 lines.]
May 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 167. 726. The Council of Ten and Junta to Sebastian Giustinian, Ambassador in England.
(This letter was submitted to the Senate.)
Had received a letter from Andrea Griti, stating that the English ambassador in the enemy's camp had said a person there wished to speak with Griti upon matters advantageous for the Signory.
[Extract. Italian.]
May 3. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 171. 727. Andrea Badoer's Report of England.
Report of England made to the Senate by Andrea Badoer. He narrated the toil and peril undergone by him, and what he had done in England. On his departure the King gave him a gold chain worth 500 ducats and a letter, which was read to the Senate. On coming down from the tribune, Badoer, according to custom, was commended by the Doge.
May 3. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. pp. 171, 172. 728. King Henry VIII. to Doge Leonardo Loredano.
Although in other letters he had announced his unwillingness to dismiss the Doge's old ambassador Andrea Badoer, had nevertheless given him leave to depart, as Badoer had notified the expediency of departure for his own interests, and his successor was a person so well qualified as to reconcile the King to it. As a testimonial of respect for his eminent endowments, had conferred on him the honour of knighthood; thus recommending him to the State, whose favours bestowed on Badoer would be extremely agreeable to the King. Badoer had performed his mission with the greatest diligence and discretion; had shown himself regardless of age and health, often appearing before the King when scarcely convalescent; and had always, under so many changes of circumstances, displayed such modesty and moderation, as to endear himself both to the King and all the great personages of the realm. The King therefore recommends him to the favour of the Doge, and requests credence for him with respect to certain announcements which he will make, in the King's name, on behalf of his very dear friends the Duke of Ferrara and the Marquis of Mantua.
Greenwich, 22 Oct. 1515.
[Signed:] Henricus.
[Countersigned:] Andreas Ammonius.
May 3. Senato Terra, v. xix. p. 82. 729. Decree of the Senate.
Put to the ballot, that the gold chain, Avhich Andrea Badoer received as a gift from the King of England, be given to the said Andrea Badoer.
Ayes, 123. Noes, 34. Neutrals, 0.
Motion not carried or lost; the number of suffrages required in a case of this sort being: doubtful.
[Motion in Italian; result in Latin; 7 lines.]
May 8. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 73. 730. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
Had ascertained that the fact of the remittances was true, but that the sum amounted only to 120,000 crowns, conveyed in cash and bills by Dom. Leonardo Frescobaldi, who had already reached his destination. Supposed this money would be distributed or not, according to the good or ill success of the Emperor.
King Henry had two agents in the Swiss camp, one of whom was Visconte de Visconti, to whom he paid an annual salary of 5,000 ducats. His son, Anchises Visconti, resided in London, as ambassador from the so styled Duke of Milan, and enjoyed great favour with the King and the nobles, from whom he had received considerable presents. The other agent was Master Girardo (Richard Pace), formerly secretary to the late Cardinal of York (Bainbridge), and then in the service of the present Cardinal. There was also in London an ambassador from the Switzers, who had daily conferences with the ambassadors of the Emperor, Spain, and Milan, and was in great favour in the courts of the King and Cardinal.
The English greatly favoured the Emperor, and could not be more opposed to the King of France; yet the Lords shamelessly denied the fact. The news of the Emperor's flight was contradicted by subsequent intelligence, which had not, however, been confirmed. Desires to be furnished by the State with certain news, so that he may know how to act. If their missives were forwarded with those addressed to the French ambassador in England, they might come from France free of cost.
The Queen of Scots made a stately entry into London on the 3rd. Was the only ambassador present, and paid her his respects. Whilst waiting with the Duke of Suffolk and other lords, the Duke informed him that the Switzers had entered Milan in the Emperor's name, the whole duchy being subject to the Emperor; that the French had fled beyond the Alps, and the Signory's army retreated towards Padua. The Duke thrice assured him that this was perfectly true. Did not believe it, as there was fresher news to the contrary. The Duke also caused him to be told by the Grand Prior of St. John's (Sir Thomas Docwra), who acted as interpreter between them, that the whole kingdom marvelled that Venice should continue to favour France. Answered that Venice could not break faith. He rejoined that Venice was not bound to keep faith with those who did not observe it towards her.
London, 8th May 1516.
[Italian, 2¾ pages, or 59 lines.]
May 15. Senate Terra. v. xix. p. 82. 731. Andrea Badoer.
Motion concerning Badoer's chain again read and put.
Ayes, 119 115.
Noes, 45 47.
Neutrals, 0 0. Nothing carried.
[Latin, 2 lines.]
May 23. Misti Consiglio X. v. xl. p. 19. 732. Statement on behalf of Richard Pace, English Ambassador with the Swiss.
Report of Gasparo Sormano read in the Council of Ten by the commissioners appointed to give him audience.
The army of the Emperor and the Switzers being in the field against the French, the Signory should not at present desert the latter, but do their utmost to recover their lost cities, not neglecting, without the knowledge of the King of France or his agents, to find a person well affected towards the State, and in the confidence of the King of England and of the Cardinal of York, who may be styled another King, and is also a man of influence with the Switzers.
In the meanwhile the Signory should endeavour to recover her cities by force of arms, and if unable to succeed thus, or through the authority of the aforesaid (Pace ?), then the King of England, the Cardinal of York, the Switzers, and others opposed to France, would assume the protection of Venice, and include her in any negotiation that may now be made, and restore her territories.
Italy will never be at peace until the Signory recover their own, as the loss of their territories would aggrandize ultramontane sovereigns, and the power thus strengthened in Italy would become a cause of war from the jealousy of other sovereigns. But should the Signory retain their own boundaries and have good understanding with the Milanese, a neutral duke being placed there, Italy, with the slightest assistance, would remain in quiet, and all barbarian nations would be excluded.
To this arrangement the other Italian potentates would easily assent, and the King of England would be benefited, as, in the event of such a union, the French King, his open enemy, would not be able to avail himself of Italy to his detriment, whilst he could use Italy against France, as no well informed Italian would fear being subjugated by the King of England, both because of the distance of his country from Italy, and because he has no claim on Italy, and for his own advantage would always assist her.
Two good results would be obtained,—1st, that even should Venice enter on the negotiation, neither the Switzers nor others can take the alarm before England conclude it: and 2nd, in the meanwhile the Signory, through French assistance, might recover some city. Arguments in favour of recovering the cities from the Emperor by purchase through the mediation of King Henry and the Switzers; and suggestion that the individual destined to negotiate with King Henry, Cardinal Wolsey and the Switzers, should have a trusty and prudent agent at Venice.
Desire of Sormano that the Doge should not be surprised at his announcement, as he makes it, not from presumption, but as a native of the country, and out of the love he bears it.
[Italian, 80 lines.]
May 23. Misti Consiglio X. v. xl. p. 20. 733. Motion made in the Council of Ten after perusal of the foregoing Document.
Sormano must know the State's observance towards the King of England, both by reason of ancient ties, and also on account of the Signory's confederacy with his Majesty. Are also aware of the love borne them by the Cardinal of York.
To thank the Magnifico Dom. Richard [Pace], the ambassador of the King of England, for his goodwill, as they know him to be a person both learned (virtuoso) and of excellent ability, and greatly attached to the State. (fn. 1)
Ayes, 26. Noes, 2. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 32 lines.]
May 23. Misti Consiglio X. v. xl. p. 20. 734. Richard Pace under Bergamo.
Verbal communication made by the Council of Ten to the French ambassador in Venice.
When the Switzers were under Bergamo, (fn. 2) the English ambassador then with them requested the Proveditor General Griti to send him some one for a parley. The Proveditor communicated this request to the Constable (the Duke of Bourbon), and a refusal was returned. The day before yesterday, a Milanese, by name Gasparo Sormon, presented himself to Giorgio Cornaro and Francesco Foscari, and requested audience of the Signory, saying he was sent by the English ambassador to inform the State, that the King of England and the Switzers would assist them to recover the whole of their territory, and other similar deceitful words. The Signory had not given ear to these artifices, but had desired Sormon to depart.
Order for letters of the like tenor to be written to the ambassadors in France and with the Duke of Bourbon, and to the Proveditor Griti.
Ayes, 22. Noes, 6. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 19 lines.]
May 27. Sanuto Diaries, vol. xxii. p. 213. 735. Message from the Signory to Henry VIII.
Motion made in the Senate by the sages, for a letter to the ambassador in England, desiring him to thank the King for what he had done for the benefit of the Signory, and to announce the recovery of Brescia and the castle by agreement.
May 27. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlvii. p. 15. 736. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Ambassador in England.
The French army, after being three clays under Brescia, on the 20th instant took the city and castle, and the Venetian Proveditor General made his entry. Giustinian to communicate this intelligence to the King.
[Italian, 13 lines.]
May 31. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 74. 737. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
Wrote on the 21st (fn. 3) of his departure from London to Putney, owing to a case of plague which had occurred in his household, in consequence of which he had not been admitted to the Car dimal's presence, to declare the contents of the Signory's letter of the 18th of March, till the 30th of May. Although he had been informed of his son's death., did not put off the appointment made with the Cardinal; but, before doing so, knowing that the French ambassador was to depart on the morrow, went to visit him.
Was informed by the ambassador that the Scotch business was not quite settled, but they had agreed that the Queen should be at liberty to return to Scotland, but was not to interfere with the administration of the kingdom, and that all her jewels and effects, which she had left behind and were taken from her, should be restored. Understood she would return in a few days. The dispute touching the education of her children had not been settled, because England had demanded that they should be placed under their mother's care, to which the Scotch would not consent. These differences, with that concerning the removal of the Duke of Albany not only from the government but from the kingdom, had been postponed for six months, during which the Kings of France, England, and Denmark, and the Scotch would negotiate. Was of opinion that nothing more would be said about the differences, as the Duke of Albany would continue paramount in Scotland.
On leaving the French ambassador, went to the Cardinal, and found the Emperor's ambassador was with him. Was called after upwards of two hours, and complained to the Cardinal of the seizure and perusal at Canterbury, by royal officials, of letters addressed to him by the State, the like having also been done by private letters from the ambassador Badoer in France and others. Avoided exasperating the Cardinal, and through him the King. Communicated to him the contents of the letters, but altered the ciphered passages, lest their purport might serve as a key to their interpretation.
The Cardinal informed him that immense forces were being raised against the King of France in three quarters, by the Emperor, the Switzers, and the Viceroy of Naples; and that the Venetian army was dissatisfied with the French, and had withdrawn from them, because they had refused to resume the siege of Brescia. Represented the wretched state of Italy, and complained of the Emperor, mentioning the certain news received from his army that it had been paid by England. The Cardinal admitted that the results which he (Giustinian) had predicted were inevitable, on whichever side victory might declare itself; but he remained silent as to the remittances made to the Emperor, although he had always until then denied the fact “ore rotunda.” On his asking audience of the King, the Cardinal told him that on Sunday the Scotch ambassadors would be despatched, and on Monday, the 2nd June, he should have audience.
Putney, 31st May 1516.
[Italian, 4¾ pages, or 110 lines.]
May 31. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 75. 738. Sebastian Giustinian to the Council of Ten.
The Cardinal had said after a long preamble, “Your remedy is, to endeavour to come to terms with the Emperor, which I imagine might be done, and to form a league between the Pope, the Emperor, the King Catholic, his Majesty here, yourselves and the Switzers, against the King of France, to expel him from Italy, and defend the territory of the allies;” and then he offered to mediate with the State's enemies. Replied that Venice wishedfor peace, and not to obtain the dominions of others; that he had no power to act in the matter, but that, speaking for himself only, it seemed to him that the Signory could not break faith with France without cause; and that there would be some difficulty in obtaining the assistance of the Switzers, as all the cantons had made an agreement with the King of France, with whom, moreover, the Pope and Spain were closely confederated.
The Cardinal made answer that the cooperation of the Pope could be relied on; that the Switzers had no contract with the King of France, but would shortly conspire against him; and that he had sufficient grounds for his opinion touching the King of Spain, and wished the Signory to despatch some one [to that King] on purpose. Rejoined by advocating the suspension of any payments to the Emperor, until after the recovery of Brescia and Verona by the Signory. The Cardinal answered, “You are like the man who had a dispute concerning a mill, and said, when a compromise was proposed, 'I consent to the compromise, but insist at any rate on having the mill.' This is precisely your case: you insist on Brescia and Verona, and yet they alone are in dispute.” Replied that the Milanese seemed to be the chief point.
Putney, 31st May 1516.
[Italian, 3¼ pages, or 83 lines.]


  • 1. Concerning this mission of Richard Pace to the Switzers, see State Papers, vol. vi. part v., Foreign Correspondence, pp. 45–47.
  • 2. In the middle of April 1516. See no. 723.
  • 3. The despatch of the 21st is not transcribed in the Giustinian Letter Book.