Venice: May 1512

Pages 58-64

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 1512

May 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 163. 155. Receipt of Letters from the Ambassador Badoer, dated London, from the 1st to 7th April, in cipher.
That after Easter Bay, the King was to depart for Hampton, embark the troops, and proceed to attack France. Note by Sanuto that a few days previously bills of exchange had been sent to Badoer for his maintenance, with orders for him to accompany the King, and urge him to attack France, a power waging war on the Church. According to Badoer's letters, the King had 15,000 infantry on shipboard, commanded by the Marquis [of Dorset], which were to cross in the course of the month; and a captain, by name Talbot, the King's steward (maistro di casa), (fn. 1) was raising 30,000 men for an attack in another quarter in Normandy. The English Channel fleet had also taken four Breton ships, one of which was sunk in action. The return of the herald who had been sent to France was expected.
May 4. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xliv. p. 122. 156. The Doge and Senate to the Ambassador at the [Papal] Court.
To hasten through the Pope the attack to be made by the King of Spain and England, which, according to the advices received, must by this time have taken place; for by letters from the ambassador in England, dated 1st April, the troops were to embark on the third Easter holiday; so the Spanish ambassador's account of their being already on ship-board was not verified.
Have this morning forwarded the letters of the Cardinal of York by a courier of their own, as they did a few days ago, paying 45 ducats; to this last have given 50 ducats, which the ambassador is to obtain from the Archbishop, to the credit of the State.
Ayes, 144. Noes, 23. Neutrals, 5.
[Italian, 76 lines.]
May 4. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xliv. p. 122. 157. The Doge and Senate to the Swiss Diet.
To hasten, as much as possible, their descent into Italy, so that with the Signory's army now in the Veronese, a stronger attack may be made on the French, or rather on their remains; the army of the League acting strenuously against them in the rest of Italy; whilst the Kings of Spain and England are about to invade the confines of France.
Ayes, 141. Noes, 23. Neutrals, 0.
[Latin, 41 lines.]
May 5. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 173. 158. Contents of Letters addressed to the Proveditor Capello at Vicenza, in cipher, by the Marquis of Mantua, dated Mantua the 3rd.
Advices received by him from France that the herald of the King of England had arrived there, and declared war against King Lewis; and when, as customary, he desired to make the proclamation publicly, in his tabard, he was not allowed to do so, for fear of the populace. The letters from France were dated 25th April, and the Marquis added that the Emperor's ambassador at the French court told the King that his master had made a truce with the Signory, giving him to understand on behalf of the Emperor that he was not to take any more towns in Italy, as the Emperor would not allow it. By these letters it was also understood that in lieu of Mons. de Foix [Gaston], who was killed at Ravenna, the King had appointed as grand master of Milan Mons. de ——, who was to come from France into Italy.
May 11. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 187. 159. Reading in the Senate on that morning of letters from the ambassador in England, dated 30th April and 1st May, complaining of want of money for his maintenance; also stating that all England is in arms, and that France will be invaded. These letters came by way of Germany, together with others from the Venetian consul Lorenzo Pasqualigo, dated London, 30th March, to his brothers, in the terms following:—
“After Easter the King will go to Hampton to speed the embarkation of the troops, as his Majesty himself told me, talking moreover of many things, with which I will acquaint you in my next in our own cipher.
“The Emperor is at the waters, in Brabant. It is said he will wage war on Guelders. We do not know whether with us he is at peace or war.
“Two vessels at Hampton, laden with wools for Leghorn and kerseys for Scio, have now to unship their cargoes, as the King needs transports, nor will there be any to spare. You will hear of a great war, Spain and these English on one side, and those excommunicated dogs on the other; so that we must talk of something besides trade. The English are preparing as fast as possible, and, according to report, will land from three points, disembarking 20,000 men at each. It is not known where. At Hampton there are some hundred ships, the most part Spanish. Yesterday they received their pay, and the Marquis [of Dorset] is Captain General, with 20,000 men. It is said he will cross over to Gascony, and that the King of Spain is on those borders with a considerable force, and awaits nothing but these English. I hope to God they will avenge our wrongs and prove victorious throughout. After Easter I shall go to Hampton to witness the embarkation of such fine troops, for it will be a very grand sight, that of the lords and knights and prime soldiery who accompany the Marquis. May God guide them wherever they go! They will succeed with honour according to their custom. They will do what is possible, for they have the means, both money and brave men. They have already dismissed the French ambassador; so the French throughout the island are daily making their escape from fear.”
May 12. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 188. 160. Receipt of Letters from the Proveditor Capello, announcing news in the date of the 10th from Mantua, where advices had arrived from France of the 27th April, announcing that the English were then in readiness to cross over for the invasion of France.
May 15. Deliberazioni Senato Secrcta, v. xliv. p. 126, tergo. 161. The Doge and Senate to the Ambassador at the [Papal] Court.
To do his utmost to prevent the Pope from sending a power to Sassari, (fn. 2) as it would produce an effect contrary to the desire of his Holiness; and to exhort the Pope to let all understand that he is averse to agreement with the French, in order not to mar or slacken the proceedings of the Kings of Spain and England, or those of the Switzers, who are reported to be coming down in very great force, the Cardinal of Sion having quitted Venice this morning.
[Italian, 70 lines.]
May 18. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 200. 162. Receipt of Letters from the Signory's Ambassador at Rome, how on Monday the Pope held the second session [of the Council General] at St. John's of the Lateran.
The third session was to be held on the 17th, when the entry into the League of the King of England would be proclaimed, he having by his letters, dated 20th April, sent an ample power to the Spanish ambassador to sign the League in his name. Bonfires and rejoicings were to be made, and the Venetian ambassador suggests that the like should be done at Venice, and in the Signory's towns, to give repute to the matter. Sends also a copy of the power, adding that, in said session of the 17th, the Council would be prorogued until All Saints' Day, to give time for the arrival of the Transalpines, when the acts of the schismatic cardinals would be cancelled.
May 18. Commemoriale, vol. xix. p. 172. 163. Proclamation in St. Mark's Church of notice received by Doge Leonardo Loredano that Henry VIII. had concluded the the League signed some months ago between the Pope and the whole sacred College, King Ferdinand of Arragon, and the Signory, the entire conclusion having been negotiated by the Right Reverend Lord Christopher of York, Cardinal of England; the which League had been solemnly published in Venice on the 20th October 1511.
[Latin, 22 lines.]
May 22. Deliberationi Senate Secreta, v. xliv. p. 127, tergo. 164. The Doge and Senate to the Ambassador at the [Papal] Court.
With regard to the treaty of agreement with the King of France, are certain that the Pope will remain firm, and not to listen to it, as he perceives how said King answered the proposals sent. The recal of 400 spears from Italy, in the midst of such great need, proves how much fear the French have of the preparations of the Kings of Spain and England.
[Italian, 82 lines.]
May 24. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 217. 165. Calendar of Private Letters from Rome, written by a certain Friar Angelo, dated 21st May (sic).
Then, on that morning of the 21st, the Pope entered the place of meeting of Council, and, after the Cardinal of Strigonia had sung mass and the oration had been made by the General of the Dominicans, a brief was read to the effect that the Pope, having been made acquainted with the wish of the King of England to join the League with him and the other confederates, thought fit to have read in public the King's letter to that effect, and this was done accordingly. The letter was signed in the King's own hand, and sealed with his great seal, and purported that he had joined the League with the Pope and the King of Spain, styled by him his father, and the nobleman Leonardo Loredano and the Venetian Signory; promising on the word of a King to observe the League and confederation, and to peril everything for the recovery of Bologna and other towns of the Church, occupied by a tyrant (sic), and for the defence of each of the confederates, on condition that none of them may make either truce or peace, or any other convention, without the common consent of the allies; not binding himself to bring an army into Italy, from its distance and by reason of other impediments, but being pledged to wage war in every other quarter where expedient. The letters were dated the 13th November.
After this the Spanish ambassador said a few words, which were inaudible, owing to the great crowd, and then went to the Pope's feet and presented a letter from the King of Spain, which was likewise read in public, of the following tenour:—That his Majesty, understanding that a conventicle of schismatic prelates had been summoned at Pisa, to the detriment of holy mother Church, whose humble son he was, and to the dishonour of the most holy Pope Julius, whom he confessed to be the true Pope, and juridically elected, had determined to act for the destruction of said conventicle and that the Council called by the Pope might take effect; and as his Majesty was at a distance, he appointed his said ambassador in Rome his procurator, for himself and for his daughter the Queen of Spain, and authorized him to expend money.
The letter was a large one, on parchment, well composed. And thus, as regards war, this ambassador is another King of Spain in Italy.
After this all strangers withdrew, and the members of the Council went in their pontifical robes to tender obedience to the Pope; then certain orations having been made, the litanies were sung, and a bull on behalf of the Pope and Council was read, whereby the conventicle of Pisa was annulled. The Council was then prorogued until the 4th of November, and thus until then nothing more will be done about the Council. In conclusion the Te Deum was sung.
The Pope was to remain for the night at San Piero ad Vincula and return to St. Peter's on the morrow. This much had taken place down to the 17th May (sic).
Account of military movements, and report that 100 French spears had recrossed the Alps to succour France, as the King of England had attacked her. The Lord of Carpi expected at Rome, as also an ambassador from France, the chief president of the Parliament of Milan. It was hoped at Rome that matters would proceed favourably, and that the Pope would not make peace with France, although the King wishes it. It was said that Prospero Colonna had gone to Naples, and that the King of Spain wrote to the Viceroy, “I much regret the death of my brother-in-law, the Grand Master of Milan [Gaston de Foix], and yet more do I lament his life.” The Pope had deprived the Vicar General of the Servites for having gone to the Conventicle of Pisa, and would do the like by all who attended it.
On Monday evening great rejoicings were made for the League with England.
Friar Angelo adds that the Bishop Colonna and some others of his faction had resumed their allegiance to the Pope, and would take his pay after the 4th of June, being until then the soldiers of France. It was hoped the Emperor would join the League. There was no other news.
May 24. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 218. 166. Transcript of the Proclamation from Henry VIII., announcing his adherence to the League between the Pope, Spain, and Venice, for the recovery of the Papal States occupied by Lewis XII. Dated, Westminster, 13 November, 3 Henry VIII. [1511]; [as in the Commemoriale, vol. xix. p. 171, tergo].
May 24. Misti Consiglio X., v. xxxv. p. 28. 167. Election, decreed by the Council of Ten and the Junta, of one of the hostages on their way to Germany, in the stead of Francesco Capello, knight, appointed ambassador to England, at the option of the Senate.
Person elected, Alvise Bon, Doctor.
May 25. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 223. 168. Arrival of a King's Courier from England with letters for the Pasqualigi of London, dated the 6th, from the Consul Lorenzo Pasqualigo. How the King was gone to Hampton to embark the troops, and cross over to France. Had chartered upwards of 100 ships and vessels for conveyance of the troops and provisions. Had salted 25,000 oxen, so that the price of meat had risen from 1d. to 3d. (soldi) per pound. The King's fleet had apparently captured ten Breton barks and four Spanish vessels, on board of which were goods belonging to the merchants of Florence and Genoa, who complained to the King, but his Majesty declared the prize to be lawful, as said merchants, holding to France, are excommunicated and accursed on account of their being opposed to the Church.
Also, that King Henry had made peace with his brother-in-law, the King of Scotland.
The courier who brought this news was on his way to Rome with letters to the Pope from the King of England, from the King of Scotland, from the Emperor, who was at Mechlin, and from the Lady Margaret of Burgundy, who was busy waging war on the Duke of Guelders.
Said courier was also conveying to the Pope from the King twelve white caps (berrette bianche), and so in the evening he was despatched to Rome.
May 31. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 239. 169. Henry VIII. to Cardinal Bainbridge.
Alludes to the Cardinal's last letters, mentioning the Pope's intention of holding a general council shortly after Easter, and his wish that it should be attended by ambassadors from England. Had therefore appointed special ambassadors, who were ready to depart, when on St. Gregory's Day [9th May], he received news of the battle of Ravenna, fought on Easter Day [11th April] by the allied armies of the Pope, and his very dear father the King of Spain, against the French. Was informed of the great slaughter effected there, including that of the French commanders, about the captives, and also of the other (sic) cruelties committed by the French.
This intelligence has been announced to him so vaguely that as yet he is still ignorant of the truth, some affirming that the Viceroy was captured, and the whole army destroyed; others that all the great captains of the French army were either killed or wounded; others again assert that although the French gained a victory, they suffered most. From others has understood that the Viceroy [Ugo de Cardona] was safe, with a considerable amount of horse and foot; that the Switzers had declared themselves hostile to the French, in defence of the Church, and that the Venetian Signory had mustered a good army for the like purpose; the Pope having also recruited his forces, to effect a junction with the Viceroy, who was said to be expecting a reinforcement of 7,000 men from Spain; that the King of the French had recalled his army from the Romagna; that Ravenna and other cities of that province had been cruelly pillaged and given over to the schismatic cardinals, with sundry other stories, to which he could not give credit. Has therefore delayed sending his ambassadors to Rome until these things were at an end; but has never in the midst of this mishap, and of these contradictory stories, changed his intention of defending the Church and protecting the Pope; and in accordance with his commencement so would he in reality persevere.
Informs the Cardinal that his fleet of 6,000 men is now at sea, well supplied with provisions and great guns. That it has already captured twelve ships belonging to the Bretons and the French. That another force of 12,000 men is ready to march against Guienne and Gascony, there to coalesce with a numerous army raised by his father the King of Spain, its cost to be defrayed by them conjointly. That he (the King) is at Hampton, having gone on hoard the ships, and is of opinion that, for its number, never had a finer army been seen, or one better disposed to die courageously in defence of the Church and the Pope, as the indulgence sent by him has marvellously roused them against its foes, whom they consider Turks, heretics, and Infidels.
Believes therefore that, under God's favour, his army will behave itself right gallantly, and confound the malice and tyranny of those who, by fair means or foul, oppress the Church of God and favour the great schism, which will take effect, unless Catholic princes resist it. Will never foil acting thus, and desires the Cardinal of York to comfort and encourage the Pope not to lay aside his Christian intention, but confide in Almighty God and in the help of the majority of good Christian princes, who both ought and desire so to unite against the enemies of the Church, that they cannot escape defeat, as he himself in person purposed with his whole power to attack the foes of the Church.
Is to urge the Pope to attack the French, whom he styles the foes not only of the Church but of all Christians, so that the slaughter of Ravenna may be avenged. Writes that should the winds be fair his army will reach Guienne in a fortnight. That his kinswoman the Lady Margaret has earnestly requested him to recommend the Bishop of Maurienne for the dignity of Cardinal, and he asks him (the Archbishop of York) diligently to press the matter.
6 May, 1512. Ex—.
[Copy, Latin, 1½ page.]


  • 1. According to Collins, Vol. 3, p. 19, George Talbot, fourth Earl of Shrewsbury, was constituted Steward of the King's Household, A.D. 1509. Sanuto does not spell the name correctly, but there can be no doubt of Badoer's meaning
  • 2. Concerning Sassari. see Mr. Brewer's Calendar, date 25 September 1511 (vol. i. no. 1869.)