Venice: July 1516

Pages 308-313

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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July 1516

July 6. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 79. 744. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
Had lately visited Cardinal Wolsey, who informed him that Brescia had been surrendered to the French, but they would not deliver it to the Venetians till the latter had given up Crema in exchange. Told the Cardinal he believed in the surrender, but not in the exchange, which the Cardinal also did not credit. Whilst discussing the trade formerly carried on between Venice and England, the Cardinal said it would be very opportune for the Venetian galleys to resume the English voyage. Replied that the Signory would be content, provided they could touch in safety at Spanish ports, which they could not do, for although the King Catholic was at peace with Venice and England, he was connected by blood with the Emperor. The Cardinal proposed writing immediately to the King Catholic to procure a safeconduct. Induced him to delay till the Signory's pleasure might be known.
That day (6th July) went to Greenwich to pay his respects to the King. His receiving no letters from the Signory rendered the King and the Lords inimical to Venice. Although the Signory might have been reluctant to inform the King of the news con cerning Brescia, yet it might have been communicated to him (Giustinian), as he could have kept it secret, if necessary. Saw the Spanish ambassador (Bernard de Mesa, Bishop of Elna and Trinopoli,) at Greenwich, and apologized for not having visited him, on account of the war and the unfriendly relations between King Ferdinand and the Signory. He inquired whether the Signory had any ambassador resident with the present King Catholic. Replied that they had not, owing to the disturbances in Italy, which prevented the mission of an ambassador. He requested him (Giustinian) not to visit him for some days, so as to create no suspicion in the mind of the Imperial ambassador (Count Tationo).
Report that the negotiations between the Emperor, the Kings of Spain and England, and the Switzers, were nearly brought to a close. Believed it, as the ambassadors of those powers always acted in concert, and held very long conferences with the Cardinal and the King. It was also reported that the Pope would join the League, although the nuncio (Chieregato) declared that his Holiness would remain neutral.
London, 6th July 1516.
[Italian, 3¾ pages, or 95 lines.]
July 14. Misti Consiglio X. vol. xl. p. 51, tergo. 745. The Council of Ten and Junta to the Ambassador Giustinian in England.
To assure the King that they will not deviate from their natural alliance with England. Have always desired peace with the Emperor, and had recourse to war unwillingly. Wish the King to know that, without Verona and Brescia, neither the towns beyond them, nor those between them and Venice, could remain in the possession of the State, for Verona, standing in the midst like a wall, separates the former from the latter. Declare their readiness to make such a peace as can be firm and durable.
To communicate the above to the King and Cardinal in appropriate language, so as not to irritate his Majesty.
Ayes, 21. Noes, 4. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 50 lines.]
July 14. Misti Consiglio X. v. xl. p. 52. 746. The Council of Ten and Junta to the Ambassador in France.
Their ambassador in England states that when speaking with the King, the Cardinal, and other lords, urging that money might not be given to the Emperor wherewith to molest the Signory, he was answered that the King had supplied the Emperor with money, because the Signory did not come to terms, and that a league was on the point of conclusion between the Pope, Spain, the Emperor, the Switzers, and England, for the defence of Christendom, place being reserved for such as should choose to join it. To this the ambassador replied, that he believed France and the Signory would also be parties thereto; when his Majesty rejoined that this result depended on the State.
[Italian, 59 lines.]
July 15. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlvii. p. 22. 747. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Ambassador at the Papal Court.
Gratified to learn that the Pope was well disposed towards the Signory, and intended to intervene to adjust the affairs of England.
[Extract, Italian.]
July 15. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta). File no. 5. 748. The Doge and College to Sebastian Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in England.
The enemy, leaving a small garrison in Verona, went to Soave and San Bonifacio, and after three days plundering returned to Verona. They departed thence on the night of the 27th June, with some 700 horse and 6,000 foot, and on the morning of the 28th entered and sacked Vicenza, not sparing nunneries, monasteries, sex, or age. On the morning of the 29th they returned towards Verona, the Venetian men-at-arms and infantry being on the other side of the Adige, so that before the march was known to them, the enemy had already perpetrated their nefarious project, which, although yielding but little profit, was most atrocious, for they plundered both churches and altars, ravished nuns, took the greater part away with them, and put old men and infants to the sword.
The French and Venetians had sent forces into the Veronese, but were unable to intercept the enemy, who again went out of Verona to Porcile, on the Adige, for the purpose of supporting Muzio Colonna, but on perceiving that the French and Venetian forces were prepared to prevent Colonna from crossing the Po, the enemy reentered Verona.
July 16. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 318. 749. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Secretary at Milan, to the State.
Dated the 13th.
The ambassadors from the Switzers were still there, and it was said the King of England had sent 200,000 crowns, in order that the Switzers might march and seize the Milanese, and desired to subsidize the whole 13 cantons.
July 17. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 80. 750. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
The King was at a distance taking his pleasure, and expected to remain absent for many days. Is unable to negotiate, his last letters from the State being dated 18th March. Had, however, been several times with Cardinal Wolsey, who was constantly occupied by all the affairs of the kingdom. The Imperial and Spanish ambassadors made incessant demands for money. Exerted himself to prevent its remittance, but no reliance could be placed on what they or the Lords said, for whenever the subject was broached they turned the conversation. Report that the King and the Lords were dissatisfied with the Emperor, and would send him no further supplies. Delay of the conclusion of the League, in consequence of the refusal of the King Catholic to become a party to it till he had written to Spain and obtained the approval of the grandees, and the determination of the Pope to remain neutral. Departure from Spain, on the 2nd July, of 20 vessels, for the conveyance thither of King Charles from Flanders. The League would probably not be concluded until after his arrival in Spain.
For many months past the Bishop of Winchester (Richard Fox), and the Archbishop of Canterbury (William Warham), who were chief members of the government, had withdrawn themselves on account of the succour given to the Emperor against France and Venice. Canterbury was Lord Chancellor; Winchester, Lord Privy Seal; and both have resigned their offices. The chancellorship conferred on Cardinal Wolsey, the privy seal on the Bishop of Durham (Thomas Ruthal). The Duke of Suffolk had also absented himself from Court; it was said he was in less favour with the King than heretofore. Apparent withdrawal of Sir Thomas Lovel, an old servant of the late and present Kings. To the dissatisfaction of everybody, the whole direction of affairs rests with the Cardinal, the Bishop of Durham, and the Lord Treasurer (the Duke of Norfolk). This change of ministry is of extreme importance.
Demands instructions from the Signory. A sharp remonstrance should be made to the English ministry, for preventing the recovery of Verona.
London, 17th July 1516.
[Italian, 2½ pages, or 66 lines.]
July 23. Original Letter Bock, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 81. 751. Sebastian Giustinian to the Council of Ten.
Acknowledges receipt on the 20th, of despatches from the State, dated 28th April and 27th May, announcing the recovery of Brescia, and enclosing newsletters from Constantinople. Had audience of Cardinal Wolsey on 22nd July, the King being distant some 150 miles from London. Communicated the intelligence received from the. Signory, the extracts concerning the Turks' entry into Croatia and Carinthia, and the news from Constantinople. Remonstrated against the remittances made to the Emperor, whereby Venice was prevented from recovering Verona, and as it was the festival of St. Mary Magdalen, began by saying that on that day Mary Magdalen besought Jesus Christ fur remission of her sins. The Cardinal listened graciously, and said, “Domine Orator! St. Mary Magdalen did entreat remission from Christ, but before doing so she repented of her errors, and departed from her wickedness. Do yon do the like; abjure your errors, and depart from the ambition of desiring to take and occupy what belongs to others; and then his Majesty will grant you grace, even more than you desire.” The Cardinal informed him that negotiations were on foot between France and Spain, to the Signory's detriment; that they were treating to conclude a marriage, not as formerly with Madame Renée, the [French] Queen's sister, but with the daughter of the King of France, so that the King Catholic would have to wait fifteen years for a wife; that a clause had been agreed to by both sovereigns for the abandonment of Venice by the King of France, who was prohibited from giving them succour to recover Verona; and that England was determined by all means to subsidize (dar subsidio) the Emperor, especially for defence of Verona.
Replied that the Signory had no penance to perform for past errors, having observed the faith which they had sworn to keep. Here the Cardinal interrupted him, saying, “How do you keep your faith, when you choose to defend Verona, which does not belong to you, but to the Emperor?” Rejoined that Verona had belonged to Venice, and been held pacifically for a hundred years, no former Emperor having ever remonstrated, being well aware that it belonged neither to the Empire nor to the House of Austria.
The Cardinal then inquired how Venice had obtained Verona. Replied that, since the tenure of possessions held for a century was investigated, whilst no inquiries were made touching the recent and violent seizures effected by others, he must know that on the Lords of La Scala becoming extinct, the Duke of Milan and the Marquis of Mantua desired to occupy Verona, but the Veronese offered to deliver their city to the Signory, who sent their army thither. The Marquis and the Duke, who had already entered the town with their forces, were not welcomed by the Veronese as they expected; but the Venetian army, as it defiled through the mountains, was received with cries of “Mark! Mark!” on perceiving which the Duke and the Marquis departed by the other gate, and Verona remained in the Signory's power. Said he did not understand how the King of England, being the ally of the King of France, could unite with the Emperor to expel him from the duchy of Milan, and alluded to the King's and the Cardinal's denial of the grant of pecuniary succour to the Emperor, till within the last six weeks, when they acknowledged the fact. Represented that by these wars among Christians the Turk was enabled to prey upon their vitals, and that the money destined by the King for the defence of Verona might be employed to defend Carinthia, and the other provinces threatened by the Turk.
After this conference the Cardinal went to dinner, having invited him (Giustinian) to stay, as he did, more from a desire to change the Cardinal's mind than to dine, for he was greatly fatigued by the long discussion, at which the Bishop of Durham was present, singing treble to the Cardinal's bass (che cantava in consonantia).
At dinner they discussed no other topic than that of detaching Venice from France, and inducing her to join the new League.
They inquired what the Signory would do, if deserted by France. Said they would not persist in defending their betrayer. The Cardinal complained of the support given by the King of France to Richard de la Pole and the Duke of Albany, which indicated a wish to attack England, if the opportunity presented itself.
London, 23rd July 1516.
[Italian, 8 pages, or 209 lines.]
July 28. Misti Consiglio X. v. xl. p. 62. 752. The Council of Ten and Junta to the Ambassador in France.
Deny the charge of having sent negotiators to a Diet at Lindau, or elsewhere, and aver that they had instantly communicated to his most Christian Majesty the offers made to them by the King of England.
[Italian, 60 lines.]
July 29. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 82. 753. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
Cardinal Wolsey and the Bishop of Durham were gone to the King, who was 60 miles from London. An individual (John de Hédin), who had arrived lately, and was said to be an. ambassador from the Emperor, in addition to the one already in England, had proceeded to the King. Some said he is come in the name of the King Catholic, as he was lord steward to the Lady Margaret. It was supposed he was come to demand money, either for the Emperor's army destined for Italy, or for the King Catholic's voyage [to Spain], which was to be undertaken shortly, as some Spanish ships had arrived at a little distance from that place (London), on their way to embark him. The King of Denmark had sent him a ship of 1,300 tons, for his own person. The King Catholic had chartered as many as 40 sail, which had been awaiting his orders for the last ten days. It was reported he would leave for Spain on the day of the Assumption (15th August), after attending a solemn mass.
Within the past fortnight, the King of England had made considerable remittances; some said 200,000 crowns, others less. It was not known at whose request this money had been sent, as the affair was confided to only three persons, who kept it secret. Some said the money was intended for the Imperial army; others, for the above-mentioned voyage, and that the new ambassador was come to obtain more. No doubt he would need considerable treasure, judging by the preparations, and by the expense he was incurring. Believed they were for the King Catholic, not for the Emperor; and although the Cardinal had declared positively that he intended to defend Verona and subsidize the Emperor, the result might prove the contrary, not because the Lords were better disposed than formerly, but because they saw that their treasure was being spent in vain, to the discontent of the whole island. It was possible they were building castles in the air, for they professed to have the Pope on their side, whereas he would probably not declare himself against the King of France, by reason of his ambitious projects in Italy; a supposition confirmed by the positive assertions of the nuncio in London. They also boasted of having the King Catholic with them, which was very unlikely, as he had not entered his kingdom, and Burgundy and Flanders were much exposed to the aggressions of France. They asserted, moreover, that all the Swiss cantons awaited their orders, which was utterly false, as the Switzers were in league with France. Their assertions were doubtless fictions, intended to detach Venice from the French alliance.
London, 29th July 1516.
[Italian, 2 pages, or 51 lines.]