Venice: August 1516

Pages 313-319

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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August 1516

Aug. 2. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta v. xlvii. p. 28. 754. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Ambassador in England.
Had received his letter of the 6th July, acquainting them with his visits to Cardinal Wolsey and the King, and also with what the Cardinal told him about the news of the recovery of Brescia, and the condition respecting Crema, as devised by malignants. Are much surprised that he should not have received any of their letters, as they wrote on the 27th May, giving the aforesaid news according to the truth, and charging him to communicate it to the Kingand Cardinal. Wrote again on the 10th and 20th June, and 14th, 15th, and 28th July. Authorize him, should he think fit, to announce this to the King and Cardinal, that they may know the Signory holds them in such account as they deserve. Are glad to hear what the Cardinal said to him. about sending the galleys to England, for, besides benefiting the Signory and their subjects, it would also prove to the whole world that the State the same favour with the King as with his forefathers. To request the Cardinal to obtain an ample safeconduct for the galleys, men, merchandise, and property on board, and also for all other vessels of Venetian subjects, so that they may frequent England with confidence. Although the State had always been on terms of friendship with the Archdukes of Burgundy and with the Kings of Spain, and intend to be with the present new Catholic King, trust the Cardinal will promise that his King will induce their Catholic Highnesses to permit all Venetian vessels, and above all the galleys, to come without hindrance, for his own profit and for that of his subjects. To press the Cardinal to obtain a safeconduct from Queen Juana, or from the Council which now rules in Spain, and also the guarantee of England for the observance of the safeconduct, as with such security the merchants would come freely and do more business.
Approve of the compliments paid by him to the ambassador of the new Catholic King, but remind him that he must avoid giving cause for suspicion to the King of France. The Switzers have left Verona, which city is in confusion, owing to a scarcity of provisions, and to the licence of the soldiery. The French and Venetian forces are on their way to besiege the place. Should they recover Verona, their constant devotion to the English crown will be yet more augmented, and the cessation of the wars and cruelty of which it is now the cause, would effect the union of the Christian powers against the Infidels. Are aware that the King of England is most eager for this result.
Is to keep the King and Cardinal and the other ministers well inclined towards the State, and to transmit all important news.
Postscript.—The Spaniards in Verona have come out, and entered the service of the Signory.
Ayes, 178. Noes, 8. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 69 lines.]
Aug. 2. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 342. 755. Trade with England.
Motion made by the Sages, and carried, for a letter to the ambassador in England, apologizing for not having announced the capture of Brescia, and other events, and desiring him to acquaint the King and Cardinal with present affairs, and that the Signory hoped soon to obtain Verona.
With regard to sending the galleys to Flanders, the State would do so willingly, provided they were secure, and he is therefore to obtain written safeconducts from the Catholic King of Castile.
Aug. 4. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 350. 756. Private Letter from Vetor Michiel, Captain and Proveditor at Bergamo, to his Son.
An ambassador from the King of England (Pace) had caused a Diet of many of the chief Switzers to be held at Zurich, offering in the King's name to give them 20,000 nobles for peace, and three months' pay (fn. 1) to all that would enlist for the attack on Milan, continuing their stipend as long as they remained in the field. To this the Switzers took time to reply until the 12th August, when they would announce the decision of the cantons. After this proposal, Dom Anchises (Visconti) proceeded post immediately to England. It was said there were with the Switzers two envoys from the Pope with 60,000 ducats, and one from the Emperor. The King of England had also offered 18,000 for the Milanese expedition, which was, however, delayed on account of a scarcity of wine.
Aug. 10. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 83. 757. Sebastian Giustinian to the Council of Ten.
Had sent his secretary to Cardinal Wolsey on the 9th, when the Cardinal made an appointment for the 10th, inviting him to dinner. The Cardinal was so busy before dinner that it was impossible to speak to him, but at length took him (Giustinian) into a private room, whither the Bishop of Durham also came. The Cardinal asked whether he had received a reply concerning the King's and his own proposals touching the new League. Said there had not been sufficient time for an answer to arrive. He rejoined that the business must not be delayed, and together with the Bishop abused France without reserve. He said the Signory ought not to keep faith towards one who broke it; that if they persisted in doing so, all the princes of Christendom would unite to deprive them not of Verona only, but of all their territory; that France was continually negotiating for peace with the Emperor; that the information he had previously given him, concerning the marriage between the King Catholic and the French King's daughter, and the stipulation for non-intervention in the affair of Verona, was confirmed; and that this matter was negotiated as long ago as when King Francis was at Bologna with the Pope. Said it would be an easy matter if the Signory had certain knowledge of these facts. The Cardinal rejoined that he and the King did not deserve an “if.” Replied that they might have been deceived by false reports.
The Cardinal continued, and said that although the duchy of Milan might belong to the King of France, yet it was not fitting that he should therefore occupy the whole of Italy, adding, “Inform your Signory that if it will adhere to this new League, his Majesty will find means to make your peace with the Emperor, and that it shall henceforth have the city of Verona on fair terms; and if the State choose, we will make interest with the Pope to absolve you from your oath of confederacy with the King of France. You perceive that you are in bad odour with all the potentates of the world, for you never benefited any but yourselves, as everybody knows; so do not stir up the whole universe against you, for the King of France will also prove your enemy.”
Replied that if the Signory defended the King of France, they did so in maintenance of their faith towards him. Referred to the money spent and blood shed by them in defence of Christendom against the Turks from the middle of the last century down to the present day, and especially against the grandfather (Mahomet II.) and father (Bajazet II.) of the reigning Sultan (Selim I.). To the offer of Verona, said he could make no answer. The Cardinal charged him to despatch letters to the Signory immediately, as there was no time to lose.
In the course of this conversation, asked the Cardinal whether the Pope wished the most Christian King to quit Italy; whereupon both the Cardinal and the Bishop of Durham made answer: “Would that you were equally anxious! for as long as the King of France is in Italy, the Pope considers himself his chaplain.”
London, 10th August 1516.
[Italian, 5¾ pages, or 144 lines.]
Aug. 11. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 84. 758. Sebastian Giustinian to the Council of Ten.
After he had written the accompanying, heard that Cardinal Wolsey was going away to take his pleasure for a few days, and therefore visited him. The Cardinal repeated his advice of the previous day, and further instructed him (Giustinian) to write to the Signory that, on consenting to join the League, they must immediately send him (Giustinian) a power to draw up the clauses; saying that England would do the like with the Emperor, who was disposed to be reconciled with Venice, and that it would be discussed how the surrender of Verona should be made, whether before or after the expulsion of the King of France from Italy, hostages or security being given for the performance of the stipulations.
The Cardinal also repeated his taunts concerning the selfishness of the Signory's policy. Replied that his Lordship had derived his information from certain outlaws and malcontents. (fn. 2) Reminded him of what the Signory had done during the last 25 years; that all the petty princes of Italy had been benefited by Venice, and in receipt of her pay; and that the Signory had lost all their territory on the mainland in war with King Lewis of France, occasioned by their making truce with the Emperor, which led the King of France and other powers to form the League of Cambray.
Forgot to mention in his last, that the Cardinal and the Bishop of Durham had stated that the proposal was made chiefly for the benefit of Venice, and that the moneys expended by England had been spent to prevent the Signory's losing the rest of their territory. Replied that the benefit was accidental, not intentional.
In conclusion, the Cardinal said to him: “Domine Orator! let us arrange this holy confederation for the benefit of the Christian powers, making you lords in authority over Italy, and sending back this Gaul into his kingdom of France.”
London, 11th August 1510.
[Italian, 4½ pages, or 112 lines.]
Aug. 13. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's, Library, Letter no. 85. 759. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signort.
Report that no remittances had been made to the Emperor since the 24th of June, and that it was not intended to give him any more money. Believed (from what he saw) that they were doing and would do worse than ever, this policy being led solely by the Cardinal and the Bishop of Durham, who merely divulged such facts as suited them. Possibly their object was to intimidate the Signory.
Arrival from Spain in Flanders of 10 or 14 ships, in addition to the fleet already prepared there by King Charles. The period of his departure uncertain, owing to the hostilities of the Duke of Guelders.
Does not know on what terms the Signory stands with the Pope, but the Papal nuncio in London is in constant communication with the envoys of the Emperor, the Switzers, and the Duke Francesco Sforza; Duke of Barri; who go to Court daily and receive their board, and much money besides from the King. Is unable to elicit information from the nuncio, which is a bad sign.
London, 13th August 1516.
[Italian, 1 page, or 24 lines.]
Aug. 17. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 86. 760. The Same to the Council of Ten.
Having heard that Cardinal Wolsey was going to the King, to stay with him till Michaelmas, went to him to pay his respects. The Cardinal said he should not leave London on account of the present negotiations, and in expectation of letters from the Signory. He proposed a truce between the Signory and the Emperor until the spring, alluding to the threatened ruin of Venice should she persist in the French alliance. He said France was anxious for reconciliation with the other powers. Declined to give any opinion on the subject, though, when told that by deserting France Venice would become the mistress of Italy, said that the State would prefer equity to profit, a choice which above all became republics. Inquired whether the proposed truce was to include France. The Cardinal answered, as if in surprise, that there was no question of the King of France, either in war, peace, or truce. Did not openly express disapproval of a truce with the Emperor, lest England should be thus encouraged to send more money, either for the defence of Verona, or for the equipment of a fresh army.
London, 17th August 1516.
[Italian, 4 pages, or 95 lines.]
Aug. 17. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 409. 761. Remittances of Henry VIII.
Letter from Tours, dated 16 August, and addressed to the Secretary of the Archbishop of Salerno.
The Switzers were holding a Diet at the request of the Emperor and the King of England, who wanted the 13 cantons to unite. Eight had announced their intention to abide by the treaty made with the King of France. The King of England, who had supplied money and deterred the live cantons from joining the agreement made by the eight, would desist from spending money in vain, on hearing the conditions of the peace of Noyon, which tended to crush rather than to thwart all his projects for molesting France. It was supposed that the five cantons would adhere to the agreement made by the eight, on hearing that when the Emperor proposed peace to France, and to cede Verona to her, he had offered, on receiving some little assistance, to attack the Switzers, thus proving his real sentiments towards them, which had never varied.
Aug. 18. Mantuan Archives. 762. Francesco Chieregato, Apostolic Nuncio in England, to Isabella d'Este, Marchionlss of Mantua.
His last letter, dated 22nd May, gave account of the grand justs made by the King for the coming of the Queen to Scotland, and of the valorous bearing of his Majesty on that occasion. The bearer of the present letter is Messer Bonaventura, who was accredited to King Henry by the Duke of Ferrara, the Marchioness's brother.
London, 18th August 1516.
Signed: F. Ch., Nuntius Apostolicus.
[Original. Italian.]
Aug. 19. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 87. 763. Sebastian Giustinian to the Council of Ten.
In his letter of the 17th had omitted the following particulars. When he inquired if Cardinal Wolsey knew for certain that the Pope desired the expulsion of the French from Italy, the Cardinal replied, “I know it to be as true as Gospel.”
The Cardinal also said that the French would not deliver Brescia to the Signory without two months' pay for their army; and that King Francis had written to the Pope to make terms between him and the Emperor, as he would forthwith abandon the Signory.
The Cardinal swore to the above facts, placing his hand on his breast, and saying, “Per hæc sacra et per dignitatem cardinalatus, I have letters from the Pope assuring me that the King of France had written to him earnestly to effect his reconciliation with the Emperor, and that should there be no other difficulty than that of renouncing the Venetian alliance, and his protection of the Signory, he would relinquish both one and the other.” The Cardinal offered to show him the Pope's letter. Though anxious to see it, did not make the request, as it would have implied distrust of the Cardinal.
The Cardinal asserted that King Charles would not go to Spain during the coming winter, unless an adjustment were made between the Emperor and France. In reply to his (Giustinian's) remark that King Charles would not uselessly incur the expense of the fleet assembled for his voyage, the Cardinal rejoined that such expenditure was unimportant, when compared with the advantage of preventing French aggression in Spain, or in the kingdom of Naples.
During the winter the English ministry would do nothing further in the affairs of Italy, and therefore seek to make truces, perceiving that the country disbursed money unwillingly. The King Catholic would not join a league against France, nor even declare himself until after his arrival in Spain. The proposals made to him by the Cardinal were publicly known all over London, and the State should devise some expedient to prevent any precipitate action on the part of King Francis, should it reach his ears.
London, 19th August 1516.
[Italian, 2½ pages, or 62 lines.]
Aug. 24. Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 88. 764. Sebastian Giustinian to the Council of Ten.
Receipt of letters from the State, dated 15th and 16th July, (fn. 3) the former narrating the sack of Vicenza by the enemy; the latter, written by the Ten, concerning the attempts made by the King and Cardinal to detach Venice from their alliance with France. Communicated them both, the latter verbatim, to Cardinal Wolsey, who, attending more to the writer's words than to his meaning, said he perceived that the State wished to be reconciled to the Emperor, and wanted Verona, which the State should have, if they followed his advice.
The Cardinal had received on that day a letter from the Pope, announcing that King Francis had promised to restore Brescia to the Emperor, to assist him in the defence of Verona, to render Venice his vassal, and to give him 200,000 crowns for the investiture of the Milanese, and reconciliation to his Imperial Majesty. The Cardinal added that the mediator in this matter was “a certain Mons. de Chièvres,” chief councillor and ambassador of the King Catholic; to whom King Francis had promised great rewards should he accomplish this project. To authenticate his assertions, the Cardinal directed one of his attendants to bring him an extract from a letter, dated Rome, 4th August, in which the writer's name was not given, although the Cardinal said the news came from his Holiness. It contained the above-mentioned intelligence, and other notices, including an account of the Pope's illness. This information would help the State to a decision, if they perceived the King of France to waver.
Proposed to go to the King, who was then at a distance of 100 miles from London, with Queen Katharine and the Queen of Scotland. The Cardinal replied that the King was taking his pleasure, and did not wish to be troubled with business, having left him, the Cardinal, to despatch State affairs. On this account did not follow the King.
The Cardinal regretted the sack of Vicenza. Could have truly replied that the King and Cardinal were the cause of it.
London, 24th August 1516.
[Italian, 3¼ pages, or 83 lines.]
Aug. 26. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 406. 765. Giovanni Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Tours, 15 August.
On that day had audience of the King. The King announced that at Noyon perpetual peace had been concluded between him and the Catholic King, no mention being made of the Emperor and the King of England.
Aug, 26. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. pp. 405, 406. 766. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Secretary at Milan, to the Signory.
The three cantons would adhere to France rather than to the Emperor. The latter had sent money to certain chiefs, to succour Verona, but they refused. It was said the English ambassador (Pace) would give them 20,000 crowns.
Aug. 29. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxii. p. 432. 767. Andrea Rosso, Venetian Secretary at Milan, to the Signory.
Dated 27 August.
The five Swiss cantons were to hold a Diet at Zurich on Sunday. The English ambassador had given them 20,000 crowns, and had promised further payment if they would attack France. The Grisons were to hold a Diet on Sunday. They had written to Gian Giacomo Triulzi, that if he would give them an additional 400 ducats, they would ratify the peace with France; and he answered that he was perfectly satisfied to do so.


  • 1. According to a report of Germany made to the Venetian Senate, by Vincenzo Qnirini, on the 26th November 1507, the monthly stipend of the soldiery of Switzerland was as follows,—Captains, 13 Rhenish guilders, exclusively of many perquisites; corporals, drummers, sworn companions of the colours, and colour-serjeants, 9 Rhenish guilders; artillerymen the same, and their attendants 4 Rhenish guilders; privates, 4½.
  • 2. Probably Galcazzo Viscoute de' Visconti, and his son Anchises. See 8th May. 1516.
  • 3. In the Register of the Council of Ten, the letter here alluded to is dated 14th July.